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Most parish missions are one-time events — they happen over a week, or a few weekends or evenings, and then they’re done. But a new parish-based evangelization initiative follows a different model — and it’s taking off.
Steubenville Parish Missions, launched by Franciscan University of Steubenville — known for their vibrant and popular youth conferences around the country — combine the powerful preaching, worship, and eucharistic adoration of these legendary conferences, along with mentoring, long-term accompaniment, and small-group formation. From their press release about the initiative:
Steubenville Parish Missions are designed to spiritually renew participants and equip them to evangelize others. Each mission begins with a six-month collaborative process to help the parish plan and promote the mission and to give spiritual formation to the parish’s core team. A renowned Catholic speaker, dynamic worship leader, and an on-site program director lead the three-night mission, which includes powerful worship music, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and messages about God’s transformative love and life in the Holy Spirit. After the mission, there is a long-term follow-up plan for small group formation, which equips parishioners to form new disciples.
These Parish Missions allow people to engage in a relationship with Jesus Christ and the Eucharist in a way many have never done before, according to Martin Watjen, manager of Logistics and Parish Missions at the Franciscan Center for Evangelization and Renewal. They’re an ideal resource for parishes looking for ways to participate in the parish-centered Phase Two of the national Eucharistic Revival (June 11, 2023-July 17, 2024), he said.
This new model for a parish mission is already bearing fruit. Fr. Patrick Moses, pastor of Holy Family Catholic Church in Orange, CA, brought a Steubenville Parish Mission to his parish and it had a huge impact.
“The speaker and the worship leader were vital in opening the hearts and minds of our people to the power of Christ in their lives. What words and music could not accomplish, eucharistic adoration each evening did, bringing the presence and healing of Christ to our people. We are still hearing of the miracles that happened one year later,” said Fr. Moses.
After witnessing the powerful impact on the parish, Fr. Moses has decided to bring one of these missions to his new parish assignment in Laguna Niguel, CA, later this year.
“Most people have never seen the faith expressed in such a profound, personal way as they experience in a Steubenville Parish Mission,” said Brian Hough, director of Operations of the Franciscan Center for Evangelization and Renewal. “They truly encounter the Lord in a personal way that transforms their hearts and lives.”
The number of participating parishes is expected to increase. “To see this starting to catch fire has been incredible,” said Watjen. “After the retreat, I hear so many people joyful or crying. They are without words about what they’ve just experienced. It is really beautiful.”
You can find out more about Steubenville Parish Missions here.