A workshop to unveil Christ in Our Neighborhood, the evangelization program developed by Bishop John Dolan of the Diocese of Phoenix, drew more than 50 pastors, parish staff and volunteers to the Diocesan Pastoral Center Dec. 10.
The Saturday-morning event was an opportunity to learn how to implement the small church community effort to build relationships and grow in understanding of God’s Word. Groups of 10 or fewer people meet weekly to pray and discuss the upcoming Mass Scripture readings. Free, weekly, downloadable resources are available online.
People who may be away from the Church for one reason or another are often more comfortable meeting in a friend or neighbor’s home, Bishop Dolan noted. He pointed to one Christ in Our Neighborhood participant in the Diocese of San Diego who went on to be come a deacon in the Church.
“We spend a lot of time talking at people,” Bishop Dolan said. “But 90 percent of people can’t tell you what the Sunday homily was about. And that’s just the priests,” he quipped. Workshop participants — many of them clergy — chuckled.
And while Catholic apps and social media help evangelize, “there’s no buy-in,” Bishop Dolan said. “Christ in Our Neighborhood is an opportunity for people to share their faith and listen to others.”
Organizers say a pilot group of 24 parishes has been invited to begin the Christ in Our Neighborhood small church community program this coming Lent which begins Feb. 22, 2023.