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Archdiocesan Pastoral Council holds quarterly meeting

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By Steve Trosley
The Catholic Telegraph 

The Archdiocesan Pastoral Council learned that only seven to 10 percent of Catholics in any parish are engaged in their faith and the life of their church while the “nones” — people with no affiliation at all — are increasing in number. 

Sean Ater, director of the Office of New Evangelization, told the council at its regular meeting June 14 on the University of Dayton campus the number one question he’s asked about the New Evangelization is “What is it?”

“And, the second question is ‘what’s so new about it?’”

Ater said the best answer is what’s not new about it: “Evangelization has always been the mission of the church. The message — the Gospel message — is not new.”

But what is new is the audience, and Ater said the primary audience is Catholics. “We cannot assume conversion is happening in t he pews,” he said. “They are not living out a personal relationship with Christ.”

Ater, who was appointed to the newly created office earlier this year, has developed a strategy to reach this audience with “new methods, new expressions and new ardor,” Ater said, quoting St. John Paul II.

Citing the large number of Catholics who have become “former Catholics” and the diminished participation in the sacraments, Ater said, “The stakes are really high. We need a new ardor and a sense of urgency.”

Ater described various faith journeys and said that there was need to foster a “culture of witness” among engaged Catholics to reach out and embrace and involve Catholics who were still searching for that personal relationship with Christ.

In other discussion at the meeting:

Sister of Mercy Cheryl Erb told the council that planning was progressing on the upcoming Year of Consecrated Life in the Archdiocese.

Auxiliary Bishop Joseph R. Binzer said the regional planning efforts continue.

Archbishop Schnurr said a survey of those participating in “The Light is on For You” during this past Lent showed 94 percent in favor of repeating the observance, which will occur in 2015 on the second Tuesday in Lent.

He also announced that the CMA had exceeded its $5 million goal for 2014-15.

This story originally appeared in the July 2014 print edition of The Catholic Telegraph.

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