I remember the first few conversations about changing the traditional Cathedral Bulletin into a Weekly magazine-style format. It was contentious and just about anyone you had spoken too had an opinion on the matter. Of course, people were worried about getting the news and upcoming events or programs, while others were concerned about the cost or the additional time necessary to compile a weekly magazine. To be frank, I was initially concerned myself. At the time, I had worked in Catholic organizations and parishes, coast to coast, and never, ever, seen a Cathedral parish endeavor to change the layout of the traditional bulletin into an evangelization piece. We don’t change traditions in the Catholic church all too often and that goes for our administrative tasks, especially bulletins! So the question was, what if we could create a faith formative piece to nourish and sustain our parishioners, while encouraging them to share it with others? Wouldn’t that help us move toward discipleship and stewardship?
So, why the change and why does it matter?
Change is required in every conversion process and the bulletin is just one example. The standard Parish bulletin is for insiders, aka parishioners. We wanted to create a piece that would be for insiders and outsiders. Most parish bulletins do not include faith formation articles. Most parish bulletins do not engage or encourage readers to share the resources and articles with others. While this may seem like a small insignificant change to some, it was a big adjustment for others. It was one of the first actions taken to enact significant change to encourage discipleship and evangelization at the Cathedral Parish.
It is not just change the Cathedral has gone through since my time here, but a deeper conversion process. The way we message and communicate is different, the way we learn through enriched adult faith formation programs is different, the way we pass along the faith through Family Faith is different, the way we commit as stewards through the Season of Stewardship is different. This is not just about embracing change, but allowing ourselves to dive into a deeper conversion process toward discipleship. Change is incredibly hard. Conversion is incredibly hard, but is change through the lens of holiness.
A conversion process requires a willingness to rid oneself of old habits. The same goes for Parish life. If Parishes remain stagnant, comfortable or in maintenance mode, they are not only dying, but also not fulfilling the call toward discipleship. Working towards intentional discipleship IS an uncomfortable process of change and conversion! It has been uncomfortable through the mistakes, falls, or road blocks. This process of conversion at Cathedral has had stumbling blocks, sure, and I am sure to have been a part of some of those. However, we have set a course toward becoming a welcoming community of intentional disciples. It is both exciting and nourishing in so many ways! Don’t you love change?!
It has been a pleasure getting to know so many of you and working alongside you! This community is a special place, a spiritual home unlike any other. Be proud of the Cathedral community you have been a part of shaping. Be evangelizers for the Cathedral and our faith. Be disciples through ministry, service, hospitality, and spirit. Get uncomfortable! Never tire of this journey. We need you!
As I endeavor to support the parishes and schools of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois full time, I know my family will have a nurturing and welcoming spiritual home in our Cathedral. I am eternally grateful for for all of you and the amazing priests and staff that I have had the pleasure of working with and learning from! God bless you all- you will continually be in my prayers!
Katie Price is the Coordinator of Discipleship and Stewardship at the Cathedral.