The Great Commission

This Sunday's Gospel (May 27, 2018) tells us of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). In this Gospel the disciples are told to "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you." (Matthew 28:19-20)

In Fr James Mallon's book, Divine Renovation: From a Maintenance to a Missional Parish , he explains that the hinge of the Great Commission is to make disciples. Fr Mallon writes, "This task [to make disciples] is the very heart of the Great Commission, and it is around the making of disciples that all the other missionary aspects of the Church revolve: the going, the baptizing and the teaching." (pg. 19-20)

So as you listen and pray with the Gospel this Sunday, we urge you to reflect on this Great Commission and to act in making disciples.

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Bringing community to your parish- An interview with Fr Michael Leclerc

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Tell us about your parish

St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish is located in the city of Montreal, next to Concordia University and is one of a small number of English-speaking parishes in a primarily French-speaking city. It is mid-size for their diocese with an average of 500 people attending mass over the weekend.

What do you love about your parish?

I love the mix of parishioners- young, young at heart and so many who are saying ‘Yes!’ to our renewed vision for our parish. It is exciting that there is a core group of parishioners who are already disciples and there are so many more who are excited by the many changes and our new direction.

What is your parish’s vision statement?

We are a welcoming and joyful spiritual home where people encounter Jesus, choose to follow him and become fully alive. We are missionary disciples helping all people to know, love, and serve Christ and His Kingdom.

When did you first come across Divine Renovation? And what excited you about it?

I had heard of the book but I hadn’t yet read it, when I was approached by Auxiliary Bishop Tom Dowd to do an internship at Saint Benedict Parish. As soon as I accepted it, I devoured the book and was so excited to see what was possible for a parish.

How has Divine Renovation impacted your parish? Do you have a story that highlights this impact?

Divine Renovation has called us to be a parish where people can really belong. This was lived out when we started having welcomers at our doors at mass. At the Corpus Christi feast, two of our welcomers welcomed a young family with great warmth, excitement and so upheld the parish’s values. This couple and their daughter were ‘church shopping’ as they just moved into the area and were trying to find the best church for them. They felt so loved by the welcome they received, that they kept returning and forged a friendship with the welcomers. When their second daughter was born, the two welcomers were asked to be the child’s godparents.

What role has evangelization played in your divine renovation?

Evangelization has been key in two ways- ensuring quality experiences and creating an invitational culture. We strive to have a positive Alpha and weekend mass experience so then parishioners want to invite others. We have also been intentional about creating an invitational culture through always seeking opportunities to talk about it and model it.  

How has your parish’s experience of the power of the Holy Spirit changed?

We never used to speak about the Holy Spirit- He used to be seen as a benign force. Yet, now we believe that the Holy Spirit is an active force and an agent of transformation. We allow room for the Holy Spirit to work and the Holy Spirit takes up all the room that you give it!

Tell me about your Senior Leadership Team- how has it been impacted by Divine Renovation?

My Senior Leadership Team has reinvigorated my priesthood. I have a group of people who I love and trust who are fully committed to success. I am now never alone in making decisions and we work through issues together to get the best solution. Also, they always push me to be better and to stay focused so we will never stray into maintenance mode with them around!

What is your dream for your parish?

That everyone has deep and lasting friendships that they have made in the parish and can’t wait to worship with them at mass.

How do you prepare for guests?

There are hundreds of volunteers preparing right now. What's got them busy?

You! 

Hundreds of participants are joining us in Halifax in less than 4 weeks for the sold-out Divine Renovation 2018 Halifax Conference.

What detail has the team most excited?

Saint Benedict Parishioners are being invited to pray for every single parish attending the conference. If you or someone from your parish is going to join us in Halifax, know that we will be praying for your parish by name. 

It's still not too late to join our waiting list, we've been sneaking people in as much as we can. And if you're unable to join us in person, you'll be able to catch a portion of the conference on Livestream.

 

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5 Reasons Conferences Matter to Your Ministry

Divine Renovation Ministry puts on several conferences and events a year. But we also practice what we preach...

Currently, several members of the Divine Renovation Team are in London, England at the LC18 conference. For years Divine Renovation and Saint Benedict Parish have been sending staff and lay leaders to experience the LC18 conference. Why do conferences and events matter?

Five Reasons Conferences Matter:

1. They give you a chance to invest in your key people. Your team matters. Your people matter. Conferences are a way you can invest in their leadership, recognize them for what they bring, and increase their connection to the ministry.

2. You get to meet incredible people. The best conferences and events attract the most amazing leaders. Divine Renovation events attract some of the most exciting pastors and leaders in the Catholic world. Getting to meet and network with leaders of this calibre is an incredible blessing.

3. Get inspired. In leadership, you are on an endless learning curve. Embrace it! Even if things are going really well with your parish, there are so many people innovating out there. Don't miss out on the chance to get inspired.

4. Put things in perspective. We can so easily lose perspective of our struggles. Seeing that others have challenges too can help us recognize that it's normal. Building a thriving parish with a healthy culture isn't easy, and you're not alone in the struggles and challenges you're facing in your leadership.

5. Be renewed. We all need to re-charge our batteries. Getting away to a conference breaks routine and it can nourish us mentally, but more importantly spiritually. The best conferences leave room for the Holy Spirit to work. At Divine Renovation conferences, one of the most important elements usually happens near the end of the final day, where we create space for prayer and for the Holy Spirit. It's often the time that has the greatest impact on attendees. Don't miss this opportunity. The Holy Spirit wants to equip you and renew you for your ministry. Be humble enough to let Him.

 

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Top 5 Tips For Creating A Healthy Parish Culture from Ron Huntley

1. Take the time to define health and toxicity with your team.

2. As a leader, let your team know the specific area you tend to be toxic when you are not at your best. Give your team permission to hold you accountable.

3. Invite your team to have the same conversations with the ministries they lead.

4. Preach your vision of the culture you, as a pastor, want to create with staff and within ministries. Let people know this is a safe place to thrive and grow.

5. DO NOT tolerate chronic toxicity from anyone. Have the courage to have difficult conversations. Lead by example.

 

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DRN Parish Hiring - Nova Scotia, Canada

Fr. Ken Lao recently joined the Divine Renovation Podcast to share how the Holy Spirit is working in his parish. He also shared that his parish is hiring!

Are you feeling called to be in ministry and want to serve in a Divine Renovation parish focusing on bringing people to Jesus? Holy Trinity Pastoral Unit is in Sackville, Nova Scotia, Canada and may have the job for you.

Check out their posting here.

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