Parishes tell ‘the story of Jesus’: Cardinal Wuerl

Cardinal Donald Wuerl explained his practical approach to parish renewal in the Archdiocese of Washington

His Eminence Donald Cardinal Wuerl has provided an engaging blueprint for parish renewal, encouraging Australian Catholics to “build up the faith in your heart”, as the starting point of the New Evangelisation. Cardinal Wuerl charismatically discussed practical steps for parish renewal in an interview at the PROCLAIM 2016 Conference in Chatswood, Sydney.

The Cardinal refreshingly presented evangelisation as a warm and prayerful task. He explained that evangelisation begins at the individual level, through strengthened faith and taking personal responsibility for evangelisation, then engages the wider community with conversation and new media.

Evangelisation can be promoted through parish evaluations that “bring more and more people into the process,” he suggested.
The Archdiocese of Washington achieved parish engagement through the tool ‘Indicators of Vitality’, which analyses:

  • Worship
  • Education
  • Community
  • Service
  • Administration

“The goal at the parish level is to get as many people as possible engaged in the simple task of telling the story of Jesus,” he said.

Cardinal Wuerl warmly endorsed social media engagement: “The new media has to be at the heart of our method of getting the word out.”
Cardinal Wuerl is a ‘Digital Disciple’ himself and tells the story of Jesus through his blog Seek First the Kingdom
He started blogging after he realised that print media is not read by most young people. “They don’t buy our local paper, our Catholic paper,” he said.

Cardinal Wuerl pointed to Pope Francis as an effective evangeliser in person and the media.
“My experience of Pope Francis is that he is the same person one on one,” he said.
“He is a highly intelligent person, but the simplicity of his spirit is what comes through and I think it’s the same whether he’s talking to you individually, or talking to three million people.”
The interview of Cardinal Wuerl was co-produced by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and the Diocese of Parramatta. 

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