Dynamic Catholic, Alive!

Andrew Kassebaum

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.

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7 thoughts on “Dynamic Catholic, <em>Alive!</em>”

  1. Pingback: Culture War, Spiritual War - BigPulpit.com

  2. One excellent target group who has the time in today’s world to do this is retired people. I start my day with about 35 other ” old folks” at Mass – they are ripe for dynamism . Guy McClung San Antonio

    1. I was in a men’s group called Magis Christi. They meet once a week and report on their progress for the week in practicing action, piety and study. When I fell away from the faith, I tried going to the meetings but I found it hard to relate to them and now I miss them. I couldn’t report any good I had done, any prayers or devotions I had performed or anything I had read or researched. So I would just pass the crucifix (which we held when it was our turn to speak) to the next brother.

    2. Catholic Community

      That’s good, but what about post-HS young, single people (ages 19-32)? Why do we not reach out to them? Why wait until they retire? Look around the majority of parishes across the USA- Masses full of retired &/or old people. When we see young singles (ages 19-32) going to Mass, we should do more to encourage them in the practice of their faith. We are mostly ignored & left to our own capacities. Why not encourage communities in parishes, inclusive of all ages? After a Sunday Mass, the priest could have all the congregation turn & see each other & learn their names, for a start. Next divide them into smaller groups (modern suburban parishes are way too big) that have monthly meetings. Make the parish feel like extended family.

    3. Such a fantastic idea-and Yes do it after Mass or before Mass since it is not part of the liturgy; but have people introduce themselves by name-wonderful – how many times we have gone to a new parish and NO ONE says hello let alone introduce themselves. This could be the start of everything else you want to accomplish. And the comment re big parishes is spot on, if there are 3500 families there is little closeness and community – and then you get cliques formed which are forever and TICK TOCK THE GAME IS LOCKED AND NOBODY ELSE CAN PLAY. Your article is insightful. Guy McClung

    4. Agreed. The thing is, though, many Catholics in suburban parishes beadle off out the door before Mass is barely even over. So I’m afraid that the homily might be the only time that a priest can start his outreach. But it’s still better than nothing, and it’s still time that can be used to reach people by giving them something full of heart, yet not lacking in rigor and substance. It’s just that the priest might have to start there, and then coordinate that homily with what the parish can do and is doing. You might even have to start with little parish families within the larger parish and reach out from there if you have a very big parish.

      In general, regardless of “age group,” we need to have a more enlarged sense of what it means to practice the Catholic faith so as to better understand the spiritual gifts and conversion journeys of different Catholics. Anabelle Hazard once mentioned on this site that some Catholics are strongest when it comes to the intellect, others when it comes to matters of the heart/”spirituality”, and others when it comes to doing, but that we can all learn from each other, as we should. Moreover, some people are extroverts, and some are introverts, and God loves, blesses, and uses both abundantly. We often forget in so many of our discussions that it’s a matter of range and capacity, and that dumbing things down actually lacks any sense of capaciousness.

      And by the way, Catholics
      should never, ever use the term “love on” when
      approaching and addressing young people: the last time I checked, Christ said “love one another, as I have loved you.” He didn’t say anything about “loving on” anyone, because God loves us, period; God doesn’t “love on” us. Any idea that we should “‘love on’ the kids/young people” or anyone at all is just creepy and even condescending, and it also makes no sense.

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