St. Joseph Family Evangelization Strategy
Andrew McGown is currently the Associate Director of Evangelization in the Archdiocese of Denver. In his previous assignment at St. Joseph parish in Golden, CO, he and his pastor started connecting families together. The previous pastor was a member of the Companions of Christ, a community of priests who share a common life and live in communion with one another. Not all priests live under the same roof;
however, they strive for 3 things: observance of the evangelical counsels in the context of the diocesan priesthood, commitment to a common life of prayer and fraternity, and dedication to the New Evangelization, including catechesis, spiritual renewal and fostering vocations. The priest at St. Joseph wanted to build that same sense of community among families in his parish so that families who are committed disciples can live and grow in the faith together. Scroll down to read more.
The strategy began by inviting families to start meeting after a Sunday Mass with just food and social time. Later it included some formation as well. The formation taught families how to live in communion. They learned about trust, vulnerability, and accountability. Families began to invite other families. A men's group and a women's group spun off from there; groups are led by members of the family group. Participation to men's and women's group was limited to those who were committed to the family group. Parish offered a yearly family retreat in the mountains. The Archdiocese of Denver purchased a camp facility and utilize camp counselors on staff to help with kids activities. The family retreat included family adoration where the first 30 minutes were for the adults and the next 30 minutes included the children.
Families who participated in this family program started growing deeper in the life of discipleship. A pastor change at the parish threatened the continuation of the program.