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Ice-cream evangelization? Here’s the scoop for a summertime church project

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Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 06/19/17

A great idea from Julianne Stanz, who blogs over at Catechists’s Journey:

Summer is a great time to reach out to families and build relationships with them, especially with families who we rarely see at the parish. It is a time for us as catechetical leaders to be missionary in our outreach. Faith formation does not always have to take place within the parish! As Pope Francis reminded us in his homily at the 28th World Youth Day in Rio De Janeiro, “Where does Jesus send us? There are no borders, no limits: he sends us to everyone.” If we are to help families understand that their faith is to be celebrated inside the parish and lived outside of the parish, then we must reach out to them during the summer months. One simple way to do this is by visiting families as they go about their lives. Maggie M. is the director of religious education in an urban parish. She sees the summer break as an opportunity to build community with her families and to engage those families she might not ordinarily see. One of the ways that she and the parish staff do this is by attending sporting events at a recreational field, which is located just across the street from the parish. Maggie comments that this provides a “phenomenal opportunity to be kind and joyful neighbors to those in our community who might not otherwise think much about our parish (except for using the parking lot for sporting events!).” Maggie and the parish staff have a very simple approach, which you could imitate at your parish, depending on the location. She gathered a team of parishioners to reach out to the families at the sporting field by giving away free ice cream to those in attendance.

She adds:

It is about trust building, relationship building, and helping our community to know that our parish is interested in their lives. By literally going to their turf instead of staying in the building, we are bringing the love and joy of Jesus out to those who might be disengaged from any spirituality in their life.

There’s lots more. Read it allto see how it’s put into practice.

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