Year of St. Paul, Lent, are occasions for evangelization initiative

By Lou Baldwin
Special to The CS&T

Expect someone from your parish to come knocking on your door during a weekend in March. Better yet, following the example of St. Paul – resolve to be knocking on doors yourself.

It’s called “Make Every Person Count,” and it’s an archdiocesan-wide Lenten program designed to reconnect with inactive Catholics, conduct pastoral visits and update records.

“During this Year of St. Paul we thank God for having called Paul to be a light to the Gentiles and a teacher to us all,” Cardinal Rigali said in a December letter to all pastors. “He had the courage to evangelize, to proclaim the Gospel of God in the face of great opposition.”

Evangelization, the Cardinal said, “consists of many elements, including personal witness and explicit proclamation. Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life. Those who have been privileged to hear and believe the Christian message have a solemn responsibility to bear witness to it for the glory of God and the salvation of the world.”

Pastors were given an immediate task of appointing two parishioners to co-chair the endeavor, and to register themselves or a member of their pastoral staff and the two co-chairs for one of four upcoming training sessions.

The training sessions will be held at the following locations:

* Wednesday, Jan. 28: Parish Center, Corpus Christi, Lansdale, 7-9 p.m.

* Saturday, Jan. 31: Archdiocesan Office Center, 9-11 a.m.

* Tuesday, Feb. 3: Parish Center, SS. Simon and Jude, West Chester, 7-9 p.m.

* Wednesday, Feb 4: Holy Family Hall, St. Christopher, 7-9 p.m.

Parishes are requested to register for the training sessions before Jan. 24 with the Office for Catechetical Formation.

The “Make Every Person Count” campaign will also be an opportunity for reaffirming active parishioners, listening to peoples’ needs and ideas, opening doors for follow-up visits and praying for those visited and their intentions, said Father John J. Ames, Deputy Secretary for Catechetical Formation of the Secretariat for Catholic Education. The campaign, he said in a letter to the pastors, “is a unique opportunity to reach out to our parishioners in a way that is well-planned, practical and will undoubtedly bear fruit.”

As part of the training sessions, the parish representatives will be given a CD-ROM to take back with them, according to Franciscan Sister Louise Alff, coordinator for Parish Evangelization in the Office for Formation of the Laity. The CD will contain resources for the parish to train its lay visitors, bulletin announcements, a sample letter from the pastor, a commissioning service for the visiting teams, a sample visitation card and an evaluation form.

“The Lord sent them in pairs before Him to every town and place He intended to visit,” Sister Louise said. “This mandate given to the original followers of Christ is still an invitation to us in 2009. While we live in changing times, it is a changeless mission.”

For additional information, contact Sister Louise Alff at or call 215-587-0547.

Lou Baldwin is a member of St. Leo Parish and a freelance writer.