January Meeting Summary: Bishop Malooly
For our January meeting, we had the honor of welcoming Bishop Malooly, who was installed as the 9th Bishop of the Wilmington Diocese in September of 2008. As our speaker, Bishop Malooly explained his 4 Priorities for the Diocese, as well as the importance of young adult participation in the Church
The 4 Priorities
Bishop Malooly’s goals for the Dioceses over the next 5 years will include new models of ministry, catechesis, new evangelization, and vocations. The first, new models of ministry, includes exploring and developing options in case a shortage of priests occurs in the future. Currently, though, the Bishop stresses that the Diocese will not move into a new model unless it is absolutely necessary. “Parishes don’t need ‘weekend helpers’,” he explained. “Parishes need a full service priest, someone who the people know they can turn to when they need him.” It is for this reason that the fourth priority is to encourage awareness of vocations, especially vocations to the priesthood and religious life. This might not be the right calling for everyone, though, so we must also encourage those who choose to live out the vocation of married life or the single state.
The second and third priorities, catechesis and new evangelization, go together hand-in-hand. In the past, Catholics grew up with a strong faith identity: there were predominately Catholic communities, and Catholic schools had high attendance. However, for the past three generations, these dynamics have shifted. Many Catholics, including young adults, do not have a solid understanding of their faith. Thus, new evangelization is needed to help Catholics renew their relationship the Church and spread their experience to others. “It’s hard to reach out to someone else if you don’t have a strong foundation in your faith,” said the Bishop.
Young Adult Participation
A key group for the future of both the Diocese and the Church as a whole is young adults. Known as a “lost group,” young adults are notoriously difficult for the church leadership to reach out to unless they are regular mass attendees. To help remedy this, Bishop Malooly believes that the best people to communicate with young adults are other young adults. “We can’t reach you with a parish bulletin, but you can reach out to each other,” he said. Through social media or other networking groups (like SMYPP!), we can effectively form a strong identity with each other.
The Church needs young adults to understand the importance of their religious values, to encourage those values among others, and to live those values faithfully in their own lives. “Continue to find ways to grow in your faith and continue to pass it on,” he explained. Rather than stick with the “maintenance model” of the older generation, we need to put aside our fears and find new ways to effectively spread the Good News. “We don’t want to impose on others,” said the Bishop, “we just want to say the Lord has been good to me, and I want you to hear that.” It can be as simple as smiling a lot, inviting a lapsed Catholic to a Christmas mass, or encouraging a friend in their vocation (marriage, the priesthood, etc). A strong community of young adults acting as witnesses to their faith “would be the best gift the young church could give me,” said Bishop Malooly.
To view more photos from this event, visit out Flickr account here.
Posted on January 23, 2013, in Meeting Summaries and tagged Bishop Malooly, catechesis, New Evangelization, vocations, Wilmington dioceses, young adult participation. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.