Making Disciples in LA Print
Written by Sherry   
Thursday, 13 November 2008 20:05
The Los Angeles Archdiocesan paper, the Tidings, featured some familiar themes in the November 7 issue. All courtesy of Bobby Vidal, who is a praying and evangelizing movement all by himself but has the wonderful ability to draw others in.

"Intentional discipleship

Focusing on evangelization and discipleship is the key to transforming people's lives, according to Bobby Vidal, director of evangelization and lay formation at Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Church in Santa Clarita.

Two years ago, Vidal, then working as Blessed Kateri's religious education director, attended a workshop called, "Making Disciples," held at the Catherine of Siena Institute in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Based on the premise that awakening faith and "intentional discipleship" is a crucial step before catechesis, the workshop taught participants skills for building a culture of discipleship, including carrying on an "evangelical conversation."

"The primary thing to foster in conversation [with the pre-evangelized] is a foundation of trust," said Vidal. In a world where people are all over the spiritual map as far as belief and practice --- some "believe" but don't "practice"; some "practice" but don't "believe"; some "practice and believe" but aren't intentional disciples --- it's important to convey the understanding that "wherever you are, you are," explained Vidal.

"We tend to want to catechize people before they have encountered Christ as a real person," he emphasized. Intentional discipleship, wherein a person is inspired and mentored by members of a faith community to make a deliberate decision to follow Jesus Christ as Lord, "is the golden thread that flows through all ministry," said Vidal.

Results from employing a "discipleship" approach at Blessed Kateri have included more catechumens entering the church, a greater awareness among parishioners of God's presence in church activities, and a more welcoming atmosphere overall, said Vidal.

"It's mission rather than maintenance driven," explains Vidal, who adds that taking a discipleship approach "will definitely make a tremendous change in how we catechize --- not so focused primarily on content, but on introducing the person of Christ rather than the idea of Christ."

Members of the Catherine of Siena Institute presented their intentional discipleship vision at a three-day Mission at Blessed Kateri earlier this week as well as at a Nov. 6 focus group hosted by the San Fernando Region's evangelization committee."

P.S. If you are interested in learning more about what Bobby is talking about, there's still room in the Omaha Making Disciples seminar that begins Monday and runs through Thursday at noon.