The Amazing Parish is an extraordinary opportunity to experience a fast-growing movement of parishes who want to provide amazing ministry to those they serve. Our conferences feature national keynote speakers, amazing prayer experiences, and the opportunity to meet committed parish leaders from around the country. Each conference not only presents important and challenging ideas but guides a parish leadership team in the creation of the plan that they can take back to their parish and use to make it more amazing.
Our past conferences were all huge successes and parishes are reporting amazing happenings using the concepts learned by their teams. When asked to evaluate their experience of the conference on a scale from 1 to 10, the average average scores were all over a 9. We prayerfully anticipate God’s blessing on this conference as well.
The Conference certainly met my expectations and beyond. On personal level, the experience in Denver awakens within me the reminder of the importance of prayer. Life in the parish can be demanding, busy and overwhelming (especially when you want to do a good job in a very challenging inner-city parish). There was a moment during the evening adoration when I said to myself, "God, I miss this!" - I truly realized how much I miss my "relational" personal prayer. I certainly have been "saying" the prayers, have been "saying" the Mass; but I need this personal connection with "the reason" of my pastoral ministry, with person of Jesus Christ. I cannot do it on my own; doesn't matter how many "amazing" programs I can offer - without HIM everything would be just a program, but not what my mission is about - bringing people to the encounter with Christ. The Amazing Parish Conference left me with the sense that this is not over. This is just the beginning of a wonderful faith journey. Thank you to all who made this experience possible!
Fr. Jarek Pachocki
St. Patrick and St. Lawrence Parishes
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
I can't believe this was the first Amazing Parish Conference. It was so well organized and presented. My staff and I learned a great deal about some very important components for making parish life amazing for the mission of evangelization and making-disciples of our parishioners. We absolutely loved the break-out session times with just our staff to communicate how to implement what we had just learned. It was great to hear from so many other parishes about what is working in their communities. The Mass, Adoration and Confessions showed us this Conference was about faith-building, not just about imparting information. From this Conference, we feel inspired to move forward with long range master planning for our parish that is Holy Spirit driven and centered around small faith sharing group discipleship and compelling formation.
Fr. David Sizemore
St. John Neumann Parish
The Amazing Parish Conference offered a wonderful mix of zeal, enthusiasm, inspiration and hard work. Inspiration - evidenced in the enthusiastic witness of so many committed Bishops, priests and lay ministers; Hard work - was evidenced in the willingness and fervor of teams to take to heart what we heard and apply it to our particular and unique parishes/offices.
Sister Patricia Boyle, CSJ
Archdiocese of Boston
Office of Pastoral Planning
To attend the conference, your parish needs to bring a team of 3-5 parish leaders, one of whom must be the pastor. We call this your parish leadership team. They will all attend the conference and also implement the insights you gain back in your parish. So you will want to think carefully about who to bring.
The attendees who accompany your pastor may be a mix of both staff and volunteers. There is no formula. Some parishes will bring paid staff, others may bring volunteers (such as a parish council president). Some may bring the music minister and business manager; others may bring the youth minister and webmaster. Most important is that they are people the pastor believes he can work closely with to shoulder the responsibility for making, and keeping, the parish amazing.
For the first time ever, attendees at the August 2015 conference will have the option to attend a half day planning session. The need for this additional session became clear in the overwhelming response from previous participants for more time at the conference.
Past participants told us that they loved the insights from our conference speakers, but they needed more time to create a customized plan to implement these insights in their parish. And they also wanted coaching from the Amazing Parish team on how to do it.
So we are offering a morning session, from 9 a.m. to noon on August 13th for your team to work alongside our top notch, trained consultants. We will help your team create an inspiring vision for the parish, develop a strong leadership team, and create initiatives to engage parishioners in vibrant Sunday worship and effectively evangelize the unchurched. Our consultants will provide both practical advice as well as tools and resources.
Although this session is optional, we highly recommend you make plans to attend.
Catholic benefactors subsidized the costs of the first conferences and are willing to do the same for this conference. The cost to the benefactors for a parish team of five (pastor and 4 parish leaders) was approximately $3,000 per parish. This number would have been considerably higher if the speakers had charged a fee, which they did not do - a sign of their belief in this movement and its importance to the Church.
We are requesting the parishes that attend the August 2015 conference pay a fee of $1,000 which will allow each parish to bring a team of up to 5 people (which must include the pastor). The fee is the same regardless of the number of attendees.
However, inability to pay the conference fee should not be the reason for any parish to miss the conference. The Amazing Parish team is working diligently to arrange sponsorships and scholarships for parishes that need them. If you are unable to pay the full registration fee, we ask you to pay what your parish can afford for this amazing opportunity. If your parish is blessed with the means to pay more than the $1,000 to attend, we suggest that you help another parish that cannot afford the conference.
Matt Maher is a Grammy-nominated recording artist, songwriter and worship leader. He is best known for writing moving worship anthems that have influenced Catholic and Christian worship services worldwide. Matt is simply grateful for the opportunity to write songs that somehow help people along the way. Matt lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife and two children. For more information about Matt and his music, please visit MattMaherMusic.com.
Fr. James Mallon is Pastor of Saint Benedict Parish in the Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, as well as the Founder and Chair of the Board of the JP II Media Institute. Besides being a speaker on the topics of Parish Renewal and the New Evangelization, Father James has hosted two internationally acclaimed DVD Series – Catholicism 201 and Dogmatic Theology. He is the author of the best selling book, Divine Renovation: From A Maintenance To A Missional Parish, an engaging guide for parishes seeking to cultivate communities of discipleship and vibrant and dynamic faith communities. Born in Scotland, Father James and his family moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada in 1982. After studying at Christ the King Seminary in British Columbia and St. Augustine’s Seminary in Toronto, Father James was ordained to the Catholic priesthood in 1997. Father James currently resides in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In addition to his ministry, Father James loves soccer, movies, photography, dogs, everything Apple and good Single Malt Scotch.
Jeff Cavins is recognized both nationally and internationally as an exciting public speaker and bible teacher. He communicates the Catholic faith on a level that everyone understands, taking theological truths and expressing them in a practical way. He is the creator of the popular Great Adventure Bible Study series. Jeff is the founding host of EWTN’s weekly program Life on the Rock as well as Relevant Radio’s daily show, Morning Air. He is author of several books. Jeff received an MA in Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is currently the Director of the Archbishop Harry J. Flynn Catechetical Institute at the St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is also a Fellow of the Augustine Institute in Denver, Colorado. Jeff resides in Minnesota with his wife and daughters.
Matt Manion is the President and CEO of the Catholic Leadership Institute. His involvement with Catholic Leadership Institute started as a program participant in 1994. He served as a volunteer facilitator for five years before leaving his career at the Franklin Mint to volunteer a year of service to Catholic Leadership Institute as the organization’s first full-time employee and Executive Director in 1999. He has a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a Masters in the Science of Church Management from Villanova University. Prior to joining the Catholic Leadership Institute, Matt was the Strategic Business Unit Director for a $100 Million line of collectibles for the Franklin Mint. He has written articles and delivered workshops on Catholic leadership for bishops, priests and lay leaders throughout the United States. Matt lives in Berwyn, Pennsylvania with his wife and their three young children.
Father Michael White received his bachelor’s degree from Loyola University Maryland and his graduate degrees in sacred theology and ecclesiology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. After being ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, he worked for five years as personal secretary to William Cardinal Keeler, who was then archbishop. During that time, he served as the director of the papal visit of Pope John Paul II to Baltimore. During his tenure as pastor at Church of the Nativity, the church has almost tripled in weekend attendance from 1,400 to over 4,000. More importantly, the commitment to the mission of the Church has grown, evidenced by the significant increase of giving and service in ministry. Father Michael White is co-author of two books (Rebuilt and Making Church Matter).
Curtis Martin is the President and Founder of FOCUS, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, one of the fastest growing movements in the Catholic Church. Curtis Martin holds a Master’s degree in Theology and is the author of the best-selling book Made for More, and co-host the new ground-breaking show on EWTN, Crossing the Goal. In 2004, Curtis and his wife Michaelann were awarded the Benemerenti Medal by Pope John Paul II for their outstanding service to the Church. In 2011, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Curtis as a Consulter to the Pontifical Council of the New Evangelization. In addition to his work with FOCUS, Curtis serves as the Vice Chairman of the Augustine Institute in Denver, a Catholic graduate school dedicated to the New Evangelization. Curtis and his wife, Michaelann, live in Westminster, CO with five of their nine children.
Patrick Lencioni is founder and president of The Table Group, a firm dedicated to providing organizations with ideas, products and services that improve teamwork, clarity and employee engagement. Pat’s passion for organizations and teams is reflected in his writing, speaking and executive consulting. Pat is the author of ten best-selling books with over three million copies sold. Prior to founding his firm, he worked as a corporate executive for Sybase, Oracle and Bain & Company. Finally, he volunteers much of his time and focus to various Catholic organizations, including his local parish and children's schools, to name a few, and is in the midst of writing is first faith-based book. Pat lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and four boys.
Lisa Brenninkmeyer is an author and speaker who helps women experience the transforming power of God’s unconditional love. Desiring to see women come to know Christ personally, she founded Walking with Purpose, a Catholic Women’s Bible study program. Lisa’s love for Scripture and its Author began as a child. Raised as an evangelical Protestant in Minnesota, she and her sister grew up watching their parents teach weekly Bible Study. She entered the Catholic Church in 1991 because her Catholic boyfriend was quite irresistible. They married and spent the next ten years living in Germany and Mexico, growing their family along the way. Lisa holds a B.A. in psychology from St. Olaf College. She lives with her husband Leo and their seven children in St. Augustine, Florida.
Tom Corcoran received his bachelor’s degree from Loyola University Maryland and completed his graduate work in theology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. Tom has served Church of the Nativity in a variety of roles that give him a unique perspective on parish ministry and leadership. Beginning as a youth minister, Tom later held positions as coordinator of children’s ministry and director of small groups. He currently serves in the position of associate to the pastor and is responsible for weekend message development, strategic planning, and staff development. Tom is co-author of two books (Rebuilt and Making Church Matter) with Father Michael White at Church of the Nativity. Tom lives in Parkville, MD (outside of Baltimore) with his wife Mia and six children.
Sister Regina Marie (Gorman), O.C.D a Carmelite Sister of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles, is a nationally known and highly-regarded speaker and retreat leader. For over 40 years, she has lived her Carmelite calling as a junior-high teacher, Directress of Novices and Postulants, Superior General, and former Chair of the Board of Directors of the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious in the United States. Sister Regina Marie currently serves as Vicar General of her community. For more information about the Carmelites Sisters, please visit www.CarmeliteSistersOCD.com.