Matthew Kelly identifies Dynamic Catholics as those who are devoted to prayer, study, generosity and evangelization. Yet, only 7% of Catholics are Dynamic Catholics. In The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic, Kelly wonders what our parishes and the Church in the United States would look like if we doubled or tripled this percentage.
How do we get there? Kelly writes: “Imagine if a whole diocese committed to a four-year plan to raise up its people in the four signs.” The Archdiocese of St. Louis not only imagined it: we are putting the idea into action. Under the leadership of Archbishop Carlson, in partnership with Dynamic Catholic, and in collaboration with parishes, Archdiocesan offices, and the faithful, Dynamic Catholic, Alive! will touch every aspect of the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
While growth in the Four signs involves continuous progress throughout our lives, Dynamic Catholic, Alive! emphasizes each of the Four Signs over the next four years: Prayer in 2015; Study in 2016; Generosity in 2017; and Evangelization in 2018. These themes will be cumulative; for instance, study will build on prayer, and generosity will build on both prayer and study.
The most dominant quality of Dynamic Catholics is a daily routine of prayer. In the year of prayer, we are encouraging all the faithful to pray more, to go to Mass more, to participate in the sacraments more, and to make significant and lasting spiritual progress.
This initiative builds upon our Archdiocese’s rich history, the great evangelization work already being done in our parishes, and Archbishop Carlson’s vision for evangelization. In Go and Announce the Gospel of the Lord, Archbishop Carlson’s pastoral letter on evangelization, he offers a bold challenge: “It is time for a new springtime of holiness and evangelization in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.”
So, how is the Archdiocese of St. Louis working to ensure that this initiative is successful? Dynamic Catholic, Alive! was introduced at the priests’ Convocation in September. The following week, every pastor received a packet of materials, as well as a copy of The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic. We are encouraging parishes to purchase the book and hand it out this Christmas. We also hope that small groups will be formed in parishes in order to study the book in-depth.
We are also working with parish leaders in order to help them see all parish activities through the lens of the Four Signs. Even though the initiative does officially commence until January 2015, several parishes are already making great progress.
All of the Archdiocesan offices have contributed ideas to the plan, making it a truly collaborative effort. We are currently putting the finishing touches on a short, introductory video, as well as building a content-rich web portal, filled with tools to further spiritual development.
There are more than 500,000 Catholics in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Imagine the potential growth and vibrancy that is well within reach. What’s more, every diocese in the country has the potential to change the world. Matthew Kelly warns that if we continue with business as usual, the tide will go out slowly on Catholicism in America. Let us chart a new course for the future.