Crookston and Fargo Dioceses team together to help parishes evangelize

by Paul Braun | New Earth

Pope Paul VI once said that the Church exists to evangelize. Pope Francis has spoken often of how we as Catholics are called to be missionary disciples. We are called to share our faith with others. That call will be discussed on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 in Fargo during the Convocation of Parish Leaders, sponsored jointly by the Diocese of Fargo and the Diocese of Crookston.

In July of 2017, the United States bishops, along with Catholic leaders from around the country, gathered in a historic meeting called the Convocation of Catholic Leaders, attended by representatives from both the Fargo and Crookston Dioceses. Speakers delved into the social and religious “landscape” of our nation. Breakout sessions highlighted the peripheries and how to identify and reach them. Finally, each delegation had the opportunity to discuss and to ask the question, “What could missionary discipleship look like within our parishes and diocese?”

The upcoming Convocation of Parish Leaders in Fargo will more fully explore that question. Bishop John Folda of Fargo and Bishop Michael Hoeppner of Crookston have invited pastors and their delegates to delve into the Church’s teachings on evangelization, missionary discipleship, and how to be a mission-oriented parish that seeks the lost and strives to be Jesus’ mercy and love in a world marred by wounds.

“There will be a lot of similarities between our convocation and what we did in Orlando last year on a national level,” said Ashley Grunhovd, Director of Evangelization and Young Disciples for the Diocese of Fargo and one of the organizers of the convocation. “One of the things we really appreciated from the Orlando event is that it started looking at the landscape and where we are at as a Church.”

The convocation will touch on several subjects, including current trends and statistics, what is providing hope in the Church today, and the challenges that the Church is facing.

“We also want to look at who is being served in our parishes and who maybe aren’t being served as they should be,” said Grunhovd. “For example, we’ll have breakout sessions to examine how we work with young adults who are not practicing their faith anymore or have left the Church, how we should evangelize to family or friends who have left the Church, and what does it look like to evangelize in a rural parish versus in larger cities.”

The convocation is by invitation only, and was organized after a meeting between Bishop Folda and Bishop Hoeppner. Local parish priests have formed teams representing their parish communities, who will in turn bring back what they’ve learned to their local parishes.

“I hope delegates receive a sense of awe, wonder, and praise of God from the worship and study of a gathering of faith filled disciples of Jesus Christ,” said Bishop Hoeppner. “I hope it is a faith experience for all who attend, and that they receive a deeper understanding of our call to the New Evangelization and a passion for engaging in it, along with a commitment to be engaged in their parish life and to foster the New Evangelization in their parish.”

Members of local parishes are invited to contact their pastors with ideas on issues that they feel could be discussed at the convocation.