Garden Grove, CA, 5/22/19 – Terrilyn Donohue, Equip Families Coordinator of Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Flowery Branch, GA was awarded the Parish/Cluster New Wineskins Award. The award (1) highlights and celebrates extraordinary achievement occurring in parishes (or parish clusters) in the ministries of evangelization and catechesis, (2) shares successful initiatives that may benefit other parishes, (3) encourages continued creative innovation in parish catechetical and evangelization efforts, and (4) reflects the spirit of the “new evangelization” promulgated by Pope John Paul II and the General/National Directories for Catechesis.
Prince of Peace was presented the award for their program entitled “The Way.” POP describes the program: “The Way is our “pathway” to salvation. We start with Alpha as our initial evangelization tool. This introduces the participant to who Jesus is and why being a follower of Jesus is important. It answers the question, “Is there more to life than this?” From there the participant has several options depending on where they are in life. They are encouraged to assist in the next Alpha by serving food, being a table host, or by attending again with friends they invite. If they are a family with school-aged children, they may attend our Equip Families sessions. At these sessions, we offer the parents the opportunity to pray, worship, and learn more deeply about the subject matter in which they will teach their children at home. It gives them the foundation, the history, and the theology behind what they will teach their children since they are the primary catechists of the faith. We have 1400 people registered for this effort. If they don’t have school-aged children (and even if they do), we offer Adult catechesis where we offer several opportunities to grow in the Catholic Faith. We offer studies like “A Biblical Walk Through the Mass,” “Wild Goose,” “Symbolon,” and more.
Five years ago, before we started “The Way,” we would get maybe 10-30 people attending Adult Faith Formation offerings. Now we have almost 900 people attending these offerings. We also offer “Connect Groups” where families or individuals can be a part of a small faith community who meet at homes, share a meal if so choose, and discuss their faith in a small, non-threatening environment. We also offer “Serve Saturdays” where the parish family comes together to serve the community in various ways – it could be meal-packing, valentine making and delivery to the Assisted Living facilities nearby, or school supply collection for those who cannot afford them, and more! Our Sacraments programs are discernment-based so that the participants are on a journey of faith instead of an automatic sacrament check-off box method. Once a month, in the evenings, we offer what we call “Encounter.” It is a night of praise, prayer, and adoration. We have prayer teams available for anyone who wishes to pray with someone as well as prayer and praise in the presence of our Lord. We have perpetual adoration in our adoration chapel, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We are currently working on our “Go” effort which will prepare the community to evangelize outside of our parish walls. Our evangelical focus right now is inside our parish walls, making disciples so that they can go out into the world to make disciples. Our Alpha program is already reaching outside our walls bringing in and evangelizing people who do not attend our church and many who don’t attend any church at all! So, we have just begun to make a difference in the people outside of our parish community!”