US Catholic local leaders go to Amazing Parish conference

Some 500 Catholic leaders and their pastors from across the United States met recently at the first-ever Amazing Parish conference.

Held in Denver late last month, the aim was to brainstorm and swap ideas about improving parish life, the Catholic News Agency reported.

The newly-founded Amazing Parish movement seeks to provide a one-stop shop for resources to pastors and parish leaders so they can create a thriving parish life.

The conference featured Catholic speakers and workshops on topics such as parish leadership teams, formation programmes and evangelisation.

Many of the speakers were Catholics serving in leadership roles for big companies, who are adapting tricks of the trade of company leadership to practical ideas for parish leadership.

“The Church is larger than maybe any company that these kind of guys work with, so we have to be strategic,” said Amazing Parish staff member Chris Stefanick.

“We have to have the best practices and good team building skills and so I think what we’re given is really unique here and it’s been received really well.”

Mr Stefanick is also a social media evangelist at and helped host the conference, which filled to its 500-person capacity before it was even officially advertised.

“Both that and how it’s been received, it just confirms that it’s meeting a very huge need in the Church,” he said.

For Mr Stefanick, the biggest hope he had for the parishes who attended was that they come away with clarity of both vision and practice.

He called for reduced complexity and a focus on what parishes can do well with what they have.

Everyone at the conference received a binder with guiding questions and planning sheets for each of the seven foundational parts needed to create an amazing parish.

These are made up for three foundational traits: a reliance on prayer, a real leadership team, and a clear vision, as well as four other traits, which are the Sunday experience, compelling formation, small group discipleship and missionary zeal.

During the conference, parish representatives were encouraged to focus on those things that made their parishes unique and how they could work with those characteristics.

Tim Weiske, a parishioner at St Clements in Chicago, said he thought a good goal to focus on for their parish was forming their large young adult population.



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