Missionary Disciples | June 13, 2023

person holding a green plant

Flag Day – June 14 (established in 1917)
There are six American flags on the moon.
If you like to study flags, you are a Vexillologist!
Wave the symbol of your freedom
Wear the symbol of your freedom – the cross.

Quote from Living as Missionary Disciples
It is in the parish that one becomes engaged with the church community, learns how to become a missionary disciple of Christ, is nurtured by Scripture, is nourished by the sacraments, is catechized, and ultimately becomes a disciple of Christ. (pg. 13)


George Gallup did a study on the top 100 growing Churches. Here are eight common denominators. Where does your parish fit in?

  1. Mission is to reach those who are not part of the community.
  2. Purpose of Church is to make disciples who will reach out.
  3. Develop friendship evangelism: encourages parishioners to build meaningful relationships with the unchurched.
  4. Trains parishioners to share their faith.
  5. Provides services and events to bring unchurched to the parish.
  6. Moves to family-centered catechesis.
  7. Encourages religious experiences (retreats, spiritual talks, prayer experiences, bible study)
  8. Develops small Christian Communities.


Download this PDF booklet to find numerous suggestions on ways to reach out through hospitality, when new parishioners register and ways to make funerals points of encounter. You are free to duplicate any pages in the booklet for ongoing discussion with your Family of Parishes.

Webinar: The Religious Landscape of the US.

Wednesday, June 21 – 2:00 This free webinar is presented by Fr. Frank DeSiano. This webinar will provide information about trends in the United States and also reflect on opportunities for evangelization. Register here.


Just like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day can be a layered holiday to celebrate.
Be sure to acknowledge the following:

  • The Ones Who Are Fathers: Those men who are staying in the game with children of their own.
  • The Ones Who Stepped Up: Those men who have stepped in to take care of—and play a fatherly role—for the children who aren’t their own (stepfathers, grandfathers, uncles, older brothers, foster dads, Godfathers, etc.).
  • The Ones Who Are Grieving Their Own Father: Those people in your congregation who are grieving the loss of a father, navigating a strained relationship with their father, or navigating a life lived with an absentee father.
  • The Ones Who Are Grieving Their Own Children: Those who have lost a child through death or through strained relationships, addictions or alienation.
  • Those Ones Who Want To Be Fathers: There are men who long to be fathers of their own. But for some reason, it hasn’t become a reality in their lives yet.

At Mass on Father’s Day:
Lift up every single group of people listed above. You’ll not only encourage them, but you’ll also let them know your church sees and loves them right where they are.

Remind your congregation that no matter where they are in the journey of fatherhood, or what feelings they have about their own fathers, they have access to a God who is Father to all. This is a great opportunity to not only share this message with people who may have never heard it but also to encourage people in your congregation who are struggling without a father in their lives. Let them know that God is there to meet their “Father” need.

Lord, on this Father’s Day we remember biological fathers, step-fathers, foster-fathers, grandfathers, Godfathers, fathers who are incarcerated, fathers who grieve the loss of their father, fathers who have lost a child to death, fathers alienated from their children and those who desire to be fathers. Strengthen them in their role, support them in their weaknesses and walk with them in their pain. We call upon God our Father to hear and answer this prayer. Amen.


Offer a blessing for all young people with a drivers license. Ask them to attend a specific Sunday Mass. Give them a religious medal for their keychain. Prayer could be something like: “God of all protection, we place all of these young people in your care. We rejoice with them in their accomplishment, and challenge them to live up to this responsibility. Bless all of their comings and goings. May no harm come to them or to anyone else on the road. May they be open to the Holy Spirit who will give them the wisdom and prudence needed to make good and mature choices. We ask this through Jesus, your Son. Amen.” (Added suggestion: request their cell number for text messaging and send them weekly “hello’s” from the parish.)

Alpha Events and Timeline:

Alpha is working very closely with the Diocese of Buffalo this year. To understand their commitment to us watch the 16 min. orientation video. Also, view the Partnership Calendar with Alpha.

Dates to Remember:

  • June 21 – 1:00 to 1:30. All are invited to come together via zoom to pray for the needs of the Family of Parishes in this diocese. Join us.
  • June 28: The Culture Conversation – (Online) – Wednesday, June 28th 10:30am-11:30am. Gather with diocesan and parish leaders to explore the challenges and opportunities facing the Catholic Church today. Discuss the importance of sharing values for evangelization that build a culture of making disciples and reaching the unchurched and unengaged in your unique ministry context. Register here. 

Alpha courses in the family of parishes (FoP):

  • September 17: Start of Adult Alpha in FoP. 
  • September 24: Start of Youth Alpha in FoP. 
  • Nov. 4: Retreat day for Parishes doing Alpha. There will be two tracks – a track for Adults and a Track for Youth. This will be held at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Springbrook. The theme of the retreat will be the 4 sessions of the Holy Spirit that are part of the Alpha course. 

To learn more about Alpha go to: www.Alphausa.org  

One last thought...

We are really three persons: 
The person we think we are,
The person other people think we are,
And the person God knows we are.

Pillar Information Sheet

Pillar Information Sheet

Formation of Pillar Groups:

  • Each pillar group should contain between 7 – 10 members. 
  • Representation from each parish should be on each pillar group, if that is not possible that is ok and will be addressed in the pillar training. 
  • Pillar group members should be prepared to meet minimally twice a month for six months

6 Church Pillars


Description: The Liturgy is the primary way in which we worship God. The focus on the liturgy pillar is to make sure we have the very best worship taking place within our family of parishes. Priority is to be given to the dignity of each celebration, focusing on good ministry, music and participation. Priority is not to be given to appeasing locations and times. Consideration also needs to be taken into account for church capacities and accommodation of people at a location.  

  • Mass Schedules for each parish within the Family 
  • Sacrament schedule
  • Liturgy Committee 

Spiritual Life

Description: Spiritual Life works hand in hand with Liturgy. The Spiritual Life pillar should focus on fostering a relationship with Jesus Christ through para-liturgical experiences, retreats, devotions and any activity within the family that will help bring people closer to Jesus. 

  • Devotions
  • Retreats
  • Life in the Eucharist

Forming Disciples

Description: Forming Disciples involves all aspects of education. If your family has a Catholic school within it, your pillar group for forming disciples must contain a representative from the school. How the family supports all education is the primary function of this pillar group. 

  • Religious Education (K-12)
  • Catholic schools
  • Youth Ministry (Grades 6-8)
  • Youth Ministry (Grades 9-12)
  • Young Adult Faith Formation
  • Adult Faith Formation
  • Adult Leadership Training
  • Inclusive Catechesis
  • Family Formation
  • Sacramental Preparation

Out Reach / In Reach 

Description: This pillar involves how we as church respond to the needs of our people, both in and outside of our family of parishes. Social outreach/justice are a key component of this pillar and can work together with organizations that already focus on specific outreach activities; St. Vincent de Paul, Food Pantry, etc. 

Out Reach 

  • Any ministry or activity aimed at bringing relief for those who are suffering, while maintaining inclusivity
  • Evangelization efforts geared at people who are unchurched and seeking Christ
  • Promotion of missionary discipleship to attract new Catholics

In Reach 

  • Ministry to those who are in physical or spiritual need
  • Empower parishioners
  • Develop a culture of welcome


Description: Stewardship looks at how we utilize time, talent and treasure among our parishes for the good of our parishes and people. Working closely to make sure our efforts in fundraising do not compete with one another, this pillar group works on coordinating efforts for a fundraising schedule, determining how volunteers get involved in ministries between parishes within the family and ways that people can get involved in the family. 

  • Volunteers
    • Donate time, treasure and / or talent
  • Family / Parish hospitality
  • Any activities that have to do with the above


Description: The Administration Pillar looks at the business components of how our parishes operate, and looks at creating efficiencies that respond to the challenges of diminishing resources and personnel as we move forward. Determining each parish’s fiscal responsibility within the family is also a part of this pillars task. This pillar will work closely with the Pastor of the Family and the Renewal office to ensure expectations for the family within the Renewal are being met. 

  • Human Resources
    • Compensation, benefits & policies
  • Safe Environment
  • Governing / Family leadership
  • Central office
  • Processes / On-site Hours
  • Personnel
  • Budgeting / finances
  • Communications
  • Data / Reporting
  • Security / Compliance

Dealing with Insecure People (Priest/Leadership Resource)

After spending over 35 years working in organizational development and studying workplace psychology, I’ve assisted thousands of individuals to better understand how to navigate tough organizational relationships, especially during times of extraordinary change.  Change can bring out both the best in people but also the worst.

During these times of change, one of the most challenging behavioural types to deal with is highly insecure people. Characteristically, these are the individuals who find comfort in stable and predictable environments. They prefer security and despise changes even though change is a necessity for achievement and advancement in any area of life.

Unfortunately, I have witnessed many teams and organizations as a whole, even, that have failed to reach their full potential or to get themselves out of chaos because of a highly insecure person(s) standing in the way. The first step to preventing things from getting worse is to know how to identify them quickly.

So, to help determine whether you are dealing with a highly insecure person, here are seven common statements that highly insecure people say when they sense that change is coming:

  1. “I don’t have time for this. My other priorities are more important.”

Usually, it’s not that they don’t have enough time; it’s that they don’t know how to manage it effectively. And they rarely have any deliberate or mindful strategies of how to prioritize their tasks.

  1. “I’ve already tried this [or something similar], but it didn’t work.”

This claim is often a complete fabrication. Insecure people don’t try new things. They mostly talk about trying new things at best.

  1. “This is just another way for management to cut jobs.”

Highly insecure people who don’t believe they’re validated and appreciated at work can become paranoid.

They may suspect that someone, most often those in leadership, are out to “get” them.

  1. “This is a stupid idea. Everything is working fine as it is.”

When a highly insecure person has a strong and dismissive reaction to a new initiative, it may be a sign that they realize they will have to put more effort into their work, and they feel threatened by it.

  1. “This might work for others, but it’s not for me.”

Insecure people are big on inflating how unique they are and how special the conditions surrounding their work are.

  1. “Can’t we think of something else? I’m not feeling this.”

This is usually an attempt to stall and completely avoid any real change or improvement. The alternative way the insecure person suggests is usually more or less a continuation of the same behavior. 

  1. “It’s obvious that whoever came up with this idea is clueless about the complexity of my work.”

If a person claims that what they do is too difficult and can’t be comprehended by someone else, it only means that they actually don’t fully understand what they do. Or they may be avoiding being transparent because they have something to hide.

Handling a Highly Insecure Person

The most important thing you can do is to develop a sense of compassion for your insecure colleagues, parishioners or strangers. Having dark, negative thoughts about them won’t ever get you anywhere.

Find a balance between being supportive and exercising tough love. Maintain a sense of positivity and composure, but don’t show that you feel sorry for them. Insecure people often react without any deeper thinking or understanding of what they’re reacting to.

If they only get a comforting response from you, it could make them believe that they are right to be fearful or reactive, and not interrogate why.

Don’t accept excuses. It will only make it easier for them to stay stuck in their ways. Instead, follow this mantra: “An excuse is a claim, and a claim needs to be proven to be true.”

Ask questions that will poke holes in their argument – not to be openly defensive, retaliatory or passively aggressive, but because this will get them to identify what is actually true in this moment. This approach can also help them see that their excuses may be standing in the way of what they can accomplish if they face their fears.

Charles E. Fritz was a giant of modern disaster studies, a field that emerged after World War II brought forth some amazing science.  One of Fritz’s discoveries was that “everyday life is already a disaster of sorts, that we become blind to in ordinary times, one from which actual disaster can liberate us, since it gives each of us the chance to express the best in ourselves and bring about powerful and needed changes.”  The “merging of individual and overall needs” during a disaster, Fritz argued, “has provided a feeling of belonging and a sense of unity rarely achieved under normal circumstances.”

Therefore, we shouldn’t be afraid to let challenging times bring out the best in ourselves, those who work around us and parishioners who are looking for leadership from us all!

Keep in mind, patience, empathy and consistency can gradually replace their insecurity with trust!