A Parish Mission is a parish awakening! A time for the whole parish to come together to reflect upon God’s word, to renew our faith, and to pray with open hearts and hands.
Each mission program includes:
1. Preaching at all weekend masses on the scriptures with an invitation to parishioners to attend the mission. Presiding as mutually agreed upon. (Our experience has shown that missions start best on Sunday evenings.)
2. Usually four evening services with scripture, preaching, music, congregational involvement, and with hospitality following each night with an option of some pre-arranged daytime programming. We can also offer a weekend format: Friday, Saturday and weekend masses
3. Partnership with UNBOUND formerly known as (Christian Foundation for Children and Aging).. material available for each night of the mission, including order of service, readings, music suggestions and ritual materials.
Important Elements of Our Missions
1. A Parish Mission is a major event in the life of the parish! Our parish mission format includes weekend preaching, and four evening, hour-and-a-half programs. Other program pieces may be included if they have been agreed upon ahead of time. We appreciate that much preparation and administration goes into planning and preaching any parish mission, both on our part and yours.
2. One of the elements of the planned mission program is community based “hospitality” after each session of the mission. Simple refreshments and community gathering and building is the primary focus of this time together. We believe it is essential, as much of Catholic renewal is communal. Different groups of parishioners can be asked to host different evenings if that is desirable. During hospitality, we ask to display books and recordings for sale from DeSales Resources and Ministries. This is always appreciated by those attending.
3. There is no truly Catholic nor Biblical renewal without consciousness of and response to those around us who are in need, whether in our house or across the world. We have an arrangement with the largest Catholic sponsorship group in the United States, UNBOUND, to present the opportunity for those in the parish (both at weekend masses and during parish mission evenings) to sponsor children and aging in the third world. There is no collection taken up. There is no hard sell. Most commonly people can’t thank us enough for giving them the chance to make a difference in this way. This opportunity presents a great vision of the “New Evangelization” as articulated by Pope John Paul II. In exchange, UNBOUND helps support the mission and make it more easily affordable for the parish.
4. The Mission flat-fee stipend is designed to help support a sustainable ministry of developing, administering and presenting missions, and takes into account the support that comes from UNBOUND. The program design, preparation and presentation is indeed extensive. The flat-fee stipend also allows a parish to predict and recover costs. The only collection(s) to be taken up are for the benefit of the parish, and indeed allows those attending to express their gratitude and stewardship for this meaningful spiritual program.
5.All these elements of the Mission have been designed and interwoven to work together to provide, by God’s grace, a great renewal experience. We hope you will be delighted with the results in your parish.
Our preachers include religious priests ( many of them Oblates of Saint Francis de Sales) and sisters, lay men and women. All of our presenters are experienced preachers and have background in Salesian Spirituality.
Assignments to specific missions are usually based on availability, though we will always try to best serve the needs of a particular parish.
A preacher’s biographical information is made available to the parish at the time an assignment is confirmed.
There are over ten themes to choose from, some requiring two preachers and some requiring one or two preachers.
Falling in Love with God – NEW
Our newest mission focuses on Falling in Love with God and Encountering Jesus in a personal, human, and superhuman way. This mission will present practical inspiration and teaching on encountering Jesus. The preached word will include scriptures, story, drama, music, laughter, witness, and ritual, and as always for an Oblate of St. Francis de Sales, the theological and optimistic perspective of that Christian Humanist Doctor of the Church, St. Francis de Sales. This mission will reaffirm the Catholic parishioner’s identity as a holy person called to Fall in Love with God in a most intimate way not only in this life but for all eternity, knowing God as Lord and Lover who attracts us by Divine sheer goodness.
A Life Devoted to God – NEW
This Mission is directly based and structured around that spiritual classic called
the Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales, calling people to
commit themselves to the practice of “Being who you are and being that well;”
that is, holy and beloved. The progression of the book as well as the mission includes making the decision, praying, growing in your everyday good habits, and overcoming obstacles. Each night includes preaching and the opportunity for response on the part of parishioners.
Heart and Soul Spirituality
The most frequently chosen mission program to date. Basic evangelical spirituality and renewal:
Being the Beloved: Identity as God’s Own
Responding to God: Sin and Reconciliation (with planned but optional celebration of Penance with Confessions)
Being in Christ: Ministry of the Baptized
A Faith to be Shared: Liturgy of the Eucharist
Finding God wherever You Are
Living a full Christian life in one’s own situation. Designed to introduce the teachings of Sts. Francis de Sales and Jane de Chantal.
Finding God in Prayer
Finding God in Life’s Decisions and Events
Finding God in Relation to Others
Finding God in Worshipping Community (Parish Eucharist)
Time for God in a Busy World
Consider the holiness of time through the teachings of Saint Francis de Sales and Saint Jane de Chantal.
The Sacrament of the Present Moment
The Past, The Gift of Memory
The Future, Where Do We Go From Here?
Stewardship themes focusing on the worth of all creation and our challenges to be responsible care givers.
Treasuring the Other
Treasuring Your Church
Sacred Menu: Eucharist and Forgiveness
Four nights on Eucharist and Reconciliation: bringing to life these two sacraments of union.
Welcoming the Word: Liturgy of the Word
Take and Eat: Liturgy of the Eucharist
Responding to the Divine Lover (with confessions as an option)
Go Share the Faith: A Celebration of the Holy Eucharist
Inviting us all to enter into a gospel spirituality and psychology of forgiveness as part of our life style as Christians.
Letting Go (of our own sins and failings)
Releasing and Forgiveness (of grudges and resentments)
Mercy is Ours (recognizing woundedness all around us)
Reconciling to Wholeness (a habitual diet of forgiveness brings peace and joy)
Dare to Believe
Rediscovering, enlivening and refreshing our faith, which is a gift that is given and confirmed by those around us.
Open Home – Hospitality
Open Heart – Forgiveness
Open Arms – Loving Others
Open Door – Release and Trust
Called and Chosen
What does it mean to be Catholic? Exploring our Catholic identity through the lens of our seven sacraments.
The Call to be Holy (Sacraments of Initiation)
The Call to Forgiveness (Sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation)
Chosen for Healing (Option for Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick)
Chosen to Serve (Sacraments of Holy Orders and Matrimony)
Even a Hard Life Can Be Holy
Focuses on the spirituality and life of Saint Jane de Chantal.
A Woman for All Seasons: The Life of Saint Jane and Her Relationships
Following God’s Ways
Praying God’s Way-the Meaning and Importance of Prayer in Saint Jane’s Life
All of our missions include a social dimension, inviting parishioners to consider sponsoring a child or an aging person in one of 20 developing countries through UNBOUND.
The procedure is as follows:
At all weekend masses a one sheet flyer is made available either in the bulletin, in pews or handed out by ushers.
At all weekend masses UNBOUND is simply mentioned by a presenter during the homily, and then after communion, a 90 second announcement explaining sponsorships.
After mass, interested parishioners come to a prepared table in the back of church to sponsor someone or to ask questions.
During each mission night, a 30-60 second announcement is made and folders for sponsorship are available at the back of church and at hospitality.
At no point on the weekend or at the mission sessions themselves will a collection for UNBOUND be taken up.
for more information on UNBOUND, go to www.unbound.org
The stipend for our ministry covers the design of the program, and the availability of the preacher who will receive a stipend from us. The cost to the parish is the stipend (for one preacher or two), travel expenses, housing, and meals.
Travel and Expenses
Plane fare, and/or gas mileage (current rate) and travel expenses (such as tolls, airport parking…) for the preacher(s) is covered by the parish, as well as room and board (most often in the rectory or a parishioner’s home).
A parish can take up whatever collection it chooses at the mission to offset the cost of the mission. All collections stay within the parish.
“It was ‘deeper’ than what we’ve experienced in the past. Many said it was the best mission experience ever.”
“Very good communication between the parish and Embraced by God…everything from introductory materials to what was needed on our part was very clearly explained.”
“It brought our three parishes together in a very positive way, it will set the stage for our future collaboration.”