The Archdiocese of Washington is hosting an upcoming workshop titled "Engaging the Mission," with the hope of bringing together pastors and parish leaders to reflect on the current reality of their parish and consider opportunities for growth. It will be held on Saturday, March 16 at the Pryzbyla Center of The Catholic University of America in Washington.

Jeannine Marino, the secretary for pastoral ministry and social concerns for the Archdiocese of Washington, said the day would be different than a traditional conference, which has breakout talks and a large number of attendees, because it will be focused on each individual parish team. The main part of the conference will be split into four sessions, each centered around a different question: Who are we today as a parish; How do we evangelize and welcome as a parish; Who should be empowered to evangelize at our parish; and How will we journey forward together as a parish? 

"We hope to provide parish leaders with the opportunity to come together to discuss and discern their parish’s history and future," said Marino. "We want to encourage them in their mission of evangelization, to promote best practices in parish pastoral planning, and to provide practical tools to implement their pastoral plan for evangelization. While every parish is different, we know that intentional pastoral planning is a key to help parishes continue to grow and help more people encounter Jesus Christ."

Marino added that she hopes Engaging the Mission will allow parish leaders to learn from each other's successes and challenges. The workshop will also provide resources and best practice models for strengthening parish life.

"The conference is important to our Archdiocese because parishes are at the heart of our Archdiocese," she said. "It is through our parishes where people not only encounter Christ, but also come to have a relationship with Christ and his Church."

Pastors will invite individual parish leaders to attend the workshop as a part of their team. Anyone who is interested in participating should speak to their pastor, and can contact Debbie McDonald at 301-853-4466 or [email protected] with questions.

"We hope parish teams will go back to their local community with a shared purpose and renewed confidence in helping their parish to grow," Marino said. "We also hope they will carry with them an action plan for evangelization with practical first steps to share with other leaders in the parish."