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MISSION CHICAGO
By Father Robert Barron




Archdiocese of Chicago leaders have begun the new year with an increased focus on evangelization—and there’s even more to come.

Advertisements in the Chicago Tribune during the first three days of the new year proclaimed Mission Chicago, an ambitious effort to encourage Chicago-area Catholics to take part in an ever-widening series of events, missions and other opportunities to renew their faith.

It was the kickoff of perhaps the largest concerted effort regarding evangelization in recent memory.

The “tease” began Jan. 1 with ads simply stating “Mission Chicago” and progressed through the following two days adding more information, culminating Jan. 3 with a fuller explanation of the program.

Mission Chicago, announced the ads, “will make you think. It will change you. It will inspire you.”

On the final day of the series of ads, which appeared in the news, sports, business and features sections, readers were directed to the archdiocesan Web site, www.archchicago.org for additional details.

The ads were designed to highlight the “very personal call to evangelization from the cardinal,” said Colleen Dolan, archdiocesan director of communications and public relations. “In this day when so many people are searching for answers, Cardinal George wants to remind people of the hope that Christ brings to the church.”

“What we we’re trying to do is put a really serious focus on evangelization,” she said, “and to get people’s attention in an untraditional way. Over the next month we will unveil more details about the various events which are part of Mission Chicago.”

These events, Dolan said, will offer “ways for people to become closer to their faith, to grow personally but also to grow in a worshiping community.”

Mission Chicago is currently focused on the thousands of Masses regularly celebrated at nearly 400 archdiocesan parishes and shrines and the hundreds of missions parishes are expected to hold during the year, many during the upcoming Lenten season which begins March 1 with Ash Wednesday.

Also being promoted is the 2006 archdiocesan Festival of Faith, scheduled for Feb. 16-18 at the Rosemont Convention Center, Rosemont. The festival features programs, discussions, nationally known speakers, vendor booths and many other events.

The Festival of Faith is being organized by Father Tom Franzman, director of Department of Evangelization, Catechesis and Worship. He echoed the words of Cardinal George, saying that “evangelization is the main mission of the church” and said the festival is an opportunity to hear talks and programs that can assist with evangelization efforts. Keynote talks and various workshops “will help with aspects of ministry and parish life that encourage and inspire people to be more a part of their faith.”

“It’s important to realize that people—Catholic and non-Catholic—need to be invited,” he said.

For information on the festival, visit www.catholicfest.org. Thousands of booklets announcing the festivals hundreds of programs and talks have been distributed to parishes and agencies.

Finally, the ads announced a series of special archdiocesan missions which will be preached by Father Bob Barron who has been tasked by Cardinal George to “jump start” evangelization here.

In his Dec. 18 column in The Catholic New World, Cardinal George wrote, “To focus anew our efforts and attention to evangelizing, I have asked Father Robert Barron, a well-known and well-respected priest of the archdiocese and a professor of theology at Mundelein Seminary, to lead an evangelical renewal in the archdiocese. I have asked him to preach conversion to Jesus Christ at special missions in the six vicariates, in the schools and through the media. My hope is that Father Barron’s efforts will give new impetus and focus to the evangelizing mission of the Church of Chicago.”

Barron’s columns continue in this edition (see Page 3) and the entire series will be available on the newspaper’s Web site, www.CatholicNewWorld.com.

Barron and Bishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller will begin by preaching at parishes in each vicariate and holding several “mini-missions” which will culminate with a major two-day event beginning April 9 at Holy Name Cathedral.

Barron said he views his role in this evangelization effort as one of “revival and invitation.”

“It’s a mission for the whole archdiocese,” he said, “a revival of our faith for those who are active and an invitation to those who are inactive.” Mission Chicago is a challenging thing, he said. “Doing something for the first time always is,” he added. “But it’s needed.”

The Catholic New World will continue to update Catholics on the Mission Chicago events as they are developed. For instance, the newspaper’s regular calendar, Around the Archdiocese, frequently lists special parish Lenten missions. For more information, also visit www.archchicago.org.

we will unveil more details about the various events which are part of Mission Chicago.”

These events, Dolan said, will offer “ways for people to become closer to their faith, to grow personally but also to grow in a worshiping community.”

Mission Chicago is currently focused on the thousands of Masses regularly celebrated at nearly 400 archdiocesan parishes and shrines and the hundreds of missions that parishes are expected to hold during the year, many during the upcoming Lenten season which begins March 1 with Ash Wednesday.

Also being promoted is the 2006 archdiocesan Festival of Faith, scheduled for Feb. 16-18 at the Rosemont Convention Center, Rosemont. The festival features programs, discussions, nationally known speakers, vendor booths and many other events.

The Festival of Faith is being organized by Father Tom Franzman, director of the Department of Evangelization, Catechesis and Worship. He echoed the words of Cardinal George, saying that “evangelization is the main mission of the church” and said the festival is an opportunity to hear talks and programs that can assist with evangelization efforts. Keynote talks and various workshops “will help with aspects of ministry and parish life that encourage and inspire people to be more a part of their faith.”

“It’s important to realize that people—Catholic and non-Catholic—need to be invited,” he said.

For information on the festival, visit www.catholicfest.org. Thousands of booklets announcing the festivals hundreds of programs and talks have been distributed to parishes and agencies.

Finally, the ads announced a series of special archdiocesan missions which will be preached by Father Bob Barron who has been tasked by Cardinal George to “jump start” evangelization here.

In his Dec. 18 column in The Catholic New World, Cardinal George wrote, “To focus anew our efforts and attention to evangelizing, I have asked Father Robert Barron, a well-known and well-respected priest of the archdiocese and a professor of theology at Mundelein Seminary, to lead an evangelical renewal in the archdiocese. I have asked him to preach conversion to Jesus Christ at special missions in the six vicariates, in the schools and through the media. My hope is that Father Barron’s efforts will give new impetus and focus to the evangelizing mission of the Church of Chicago.”

Barron’s columns continue in this edition (see Page 3) and the entire series will be available on the newspaper’s Web site, www.CatholicNewWorld.com.

Barron and Bishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller will begin by preaching at parishes in each vicariate and holding several “mini-missions” which will culminate with a major two-day event beginning April 9 at Holy Name Cathedral.

Barron said he views his role in this evangelization effort as one of “revival and invitation.”

“It’s a mission for the whole archdiocese,” he said, “a revival of our faith for those who are active and an invitation to those who are inactive.” Mission Chicago is a challenging thing, he said. “Doing something for the first time always is. But it’s needed.”

Published in Catholic New World.
Posted: 1/8/2006 12:24:38 PM by Word On Fire Admin | with 0 comments
Filed under: Chicago


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