Rebuilt Testimonials

Good Morning, I am Tess Bondoc and I am here to invite all of you to join us and be part of the Rebuilt Book Club. This book is a story about how Nativity Parish transformed to a missional parish and how they changed the culture. To me it’s not just a story about a church but also about the people of Baltimore, their parishioners. It's about how they learned to be more involved and engaged in the parish; and how each individual transformed himself and took a leap of faith. It's also a story of hope, that with the Holy Spirit and God as the main focus, nothing is impossible. It's an inspiring story, easy read, full of stories/experiences you can relate to. It's for everyone- for people who are only here for 1 hour a week, who sees Sunday Mass as an obligation; for those who have no time and living a busy life. This is also for those who been here for 20 years or so and not even experience what it's like to be involved in the church. This book will help us to do something, to get out of our pews, get involved and be inspired to evangelize. It's a journey that we are inviting you to be a part of. When we have bible study, Alpha, Christlife programs- the focus is on our own growth; we always ask what’s in it for me, or what will I gain from it? This book club is not just for our personal growth and will not just help us today but will help pave the way for other Catholics to experience their faith become alive. It's time to shift our focus on what we can give back to God, what we can do to make Holy Family an amazing parish! Holy Family needs you to answer God’s call and join us in this book club.
Tess Bondoc
Holy Family Parish
Good afternoon! My name is Anne Provenzano and I converted to the Catholic faith 6 years ago. I’ve continued to join ministries and almost every bible study since that time. When I focus on Jesus and learn more about Him, the closer our relationship becomes. That’s why I’m so excited about joining our new book club. Have you seen this book before? It’s called “Rebuilt”. I especially love how the focus is on the letter “t”. * If you can’t see it from here, please stop at the back of the church to take a closer look * The letter “t” is in a different colour to highlight how much it looks like a cross. Why is the cross important? Why is Mass important? Why are you even here today? The purpose of our “rebuilt” book club is to discuss these questions and make Mass the highlight of your weekend. We are providing an opportunity for you to share ideas, make a difference and transform your routine into an amazing experience with Jesus Christ. I invite all of you to share in this new adventure with me. Please sign your name at the back of the church and pick up your free book today! Thank you for your time and God bless you.
Anne Provenzano
Holy Family Parish
Good evening everyone. My name is John Simmons and the purpose of this talk is to invite you to the Rebuilt book club. Before you say to yourself; Oh gosh…. I’ve heard this a dozen times already…. Let me say those who are still sitting on the fence 1) I am not an avid reader 2) I have never belonged to a book club before 3) I already love our parish, and think it is pretty great all ready. So, you may ask: Why am I up here, why do I support and promote a book and a book club about a book on how another parish changed from a dull uninteresting, disengaged church to a vibrant, thriving, faith-based parish community? Because I love my parish, but I know all good things can be improved. Second, I love God, but I want to love and serve him more. I’ve also known that: Our individual faith is strengthened when we spend time with God in prayer and when we share our faith to others. Jesus himself told us 2000 years ago that the most important Commandment is to Love God, Love others and to make disciples. That message is still the most important one for us today, not just here at Holy Family but for Catholics around the world. The Rebuilt book provides: 1) Practical, easy to implement ideas to help transform ourselves, and our parish community. 2) Clear advice for those of us who are looking to move beyond simply knowing about our faith to living our faith. 3) Rebuilt provides a framework to help us move past an hour per week commitment to becoming fully engaged in the Mass. 4) It establishes a plan to help us build a vibrant parish community. 5) Encourages us to be true disciples, to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. (i)If we embrace the command Christ gave us, Holy Family can become an even more vibrant, engaged, faith-based parish community (ii) There are 4 different sessions to choose. (iii) What suits you best? (iv) The book is free…. And you get a free bonus journal. Please join me and nearly 300 others who are keen to live a more vibrant, faith filled life, who want to love god, love others and make disciples. I promised to be brief and hopefully I have been! So, please sign up at the Welcome desk. Thank you for your attention and God Bless.
John Simmons
Holy Family Parish
Hello, my name is Alan Perron. Rebuilt really had a transformation of spiritual mind set for me. It truly allowed me to understand the meaning of evangelization. Where does discipleship start and end - with touching the hand of a homeless person who never knew the warmth of a human hand. We become changed as a Christian by understanding the worth of Christ in everyone we see. Society has become a selfish culture which has captured so many people today. With Rebuilt we learn of a new cultural change within our church and ourselves, and, how to achieve that spiritual success. For our Catholicism and church to survive, we need to follow the guidelines and words of this book to learn to love God and our faith, and to nurture a new self as a disciple of Christ. Let's embrace the changes needed to build a thriving and living church and learn to further love God, love others and build disciples.
Alan Perron
Holy Family Parish
Hello, my name is Alys MacAlister, I’ve been a parishioner at Holy Family for 12 years and I would like to invite you to join us in our book club studying “Rebuilt – the Story of a Catholic Parish”. Even though I love my church and attend Mass each week, I am dismayed by the numbers of baptized Catholics who have just drifted away from the church. I can name many in my own family and I’m sure you can think of someone in yours too. How can we draw them back? It seems like such a huge problem and what can we do about it? If we don’t start reversing the trend now, what will Holy Family look like in 20 years? This is where Rebuilt comes in – it provides a map for creating and sustaining a really vibrant and growing parish. But Fr. Laszlo and Fr. Matthew can’t do it alone. The parish staff can’t do it alone. This requires each and every one of us to get out of the pews and help with the heavy lifting. Yes, it’s going to require a shift in consciousness, in culture – to re-orient ourselves Jesus’s mission for his church – to Love God, Love others and Make disciples. Join us in this exciting adventure of creating a healthy church community and intentionally bring people to Jesus. The book club starts tomorrow but you don’t have to read the whole thing before then – just the first two chapters. They are humorous and they are painfully honest in describing their mistakes. Many of the situations will not apply to us at Holy Family – but you may recognize some! Please see me at the back of the church to sign up and get your free copy.
Alys MacAlister
Holy Family Parish
Good Morning, my name is Cathy MacDonald. When Father Lazlo first announced that as part of our parish mission: “to love God, love others and make disciples”, we would be forming a book club and the book we were to read was about evangelizing and rebuilding our parish; I was to say the least, hesitant and concerned. Images leapt into my mind of our wonderful parish overrun with televangelists from those ghastly 1980’s television shows, of having to stand on street corners convincing hostile crowds about the existence of God, and even worse being required to spend endless hours on committees reinventing all the good things we were already doing in our parish. I am pleased to say that after having read the book I was wrong on all accounts! The book was engaging, insightful and honest. It provided a clearer picture about what it means to be a disciple and to evangelize in our world today. Discipleship and rebuilding our parish I have come to realize are not necessarily about doing more, but about choosing courses of action thoughtfully guided by our personal relationship with Christ. Evangelism is not as I had feared, but is discovering ways to use our gifts, talents and interests to share with others this relationship. As I read the book, I began to reflect on how important discipleship has been in our Church right from its earliest beginnings. Judea, the area where Christ lived, was under military occupation, there were no human rights. He lived in a world of brutality, poverty, oppression and tyrannical leaders. Sound familiar? Yet it was in this very place that our Church was started. Our Church started with a relationship, Christ’s relationship with God, his father. Salvation for humanity was made possible because Christ shared his relationship with the Father by inviting the apostles to follow him and then challenged them to go out and make other disciples. I truly feel overwhelmed by the faith of those early disciples who first taught the Christian message of compassion, mercy and love to a culture that was built on values of power, violence and inhumanity. They eventually succeeded in spreading Christ’s message across the Roman Empire and converted this seemingly undefeatable pagan world to Christianity. Our faith and our Church were built on the shoulders and the sacrifices of those first few disciples and the others who followed Christ and spread his word to others down through the ages. Now it is our turn to step up as disciples to share our faith with our world today. We only need to glance at the headlines in the newspaper to see how our world so desperately needs Christ’s healing message of hope. Just like disciples throughout history who have gone before us, we too can feel overwhelmed, unprepared and afraid as we face the issues in our world today. The Rebuilt book encourages and shows us different ways to positively transform our parish and our world today by first deepening our personal relationship with Christ. I invite you to join the book club and help us work together as a parish to accept the challenge and the deep rewards of being a disciple of Christ in the twenty-first century.
Cathy MacDonald
Holy Family Parish
Good Morning, I’m Norm Sawula from the Knights of Columbus. Was just downstairs helping to get the Knights Pancake Breakfast ready, hope you will join us downstairs after Mass for a nice hot breakfast on this cold morning. But first I would like to speak to you briefly about the Holy Family Rebuilt Book Club that you have heard about. The book club begins tomorrow with a 10:00 morning or 7:40 evening session and two other sessions beginning Tuesday at either 10:00 am or 7:00 pm. I’m attending the morning session tomorrow and am looking forward to it having read about half the book thus far. The book describes how a group of parish leaders and parishioners brought an ailing Catholic church, Church of Nativity in Baltimore back to life. When I read about the depth to which this church had declined, I realized more than ever how fortunate we are to have a strong, vibrant church community here at Holy Family. As I read about how this Baltimore church rebuilt their church community from the depths of despair, I began to imagine what could be accomplished in the spiritual renewal of our church community by applying their principles and ideas to a vibrant parish like Holy Family. I also found this book to be a good source for self-reflection that I think could help me become a better member of the Holy Family Church community. The response to the Book Club thus far has been excellent with over 350 people signed up to attend but there is always room for a few more. You don’t need to have read the book prior to attending the first session as there will be lots of time to read the book during the 6 weeks of the book club and the book is an easy and enjoyable read. So, I hope you will join me and attend one of the 4 available sessions of the Holy Family Rebuilt book club. You can sign up at the back of the church. Thank you for listening.
Norm Sawula
Holy Family Parish
Good Morning. My name is Agnes Ferraz and for just 2 minutes I would like to tell you a little about this book REBUILT and why you should join the book club. The idea of a book club might not attract you, but it is what is in the book that is so important. This book is the story of a parish church struggling to find a way to make Church relevant to their parishioners. You and I both know that Church is not popular today. Many of our own family members, young and old are turning away from it. It saddens us, doesn’t it? Does it not sadden you? Wouldn’t you like to know how Rev. Michael White and his assistant Tom faced this problem and turned things around so that they became a most vibrant parish for young and old? It is not impossible. Come and see how they did it and see if we are able to learn from them. Of course, we might not agree with everything we read but we should not be put off. We can make our voices heard, give our opinions and listen to other points of views. The fact is that if no changes are made, we will remain exactly where we are. Expect that with changes come conflict. See how this duo handled conflict. The important thing is to keep our end-goal in mind. Will this change get us to where we want to be, more relevant to our absent members and more open to God’s message? You know that at the heart of our Faith is how much God loves us, enough to die for us. Some people have never experienced God’s love. God wants us to bring this Good News to them. Many people are lost today, and we are not finding a way to help them. Won’t you come and learn how we can make a difference for God and exercise our Parish mission to LOVE GOD, LOVE OTHERS AND MAKE DISCIPLES? This book is an easy read and you will find the experience of these 2 men quite funny at times, but they never gave up. I highly recommend this book to you. It is down to earth and very practical, and you can do it. Please come and join us. We need your voice and your input. You can sign up at the back of the Church at our information booth and we will be happy to answer any of your questions. So, thank you and God Bless you and have a wonderful and Blessed Christmas.
Agnes Ferraz
Holy Family Parish
This is a story about a Catholic Church in the United States that was facing a crisis – it was dying. Now don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t the case that people weren’t going to church. In fact just the opposite. The church was packed. Each week the pews were full of people – but the people were not full of Faith. This church was dying spiritually. So the priest Fr. Michael set out to help his parishioners re-discover and rebuild their faith and help them develop a strong relationship with Jesus. This book: Rebuilt, describes the various things Fr Michael did to help rebuild his parish. It describes the challenges, the trials and tribulations, the successes and failures. Ultimately the book is about the successes. Today that parish is one of the most vibrant parishes in the United States. Fr Laszlo has purchased 500 copies of this book for us to read. Why? Because our parish is in crisis – it is dying. Yes our pews are filled every week with people but many of those people are not filled with the Holy Spirit. There are a group of parishioners who come every week. And they kneel and they pray. They stand and sing amen. They turn to their neighbor and say: “Peace be with You”. Then near the end of mass, they take communion and leave. Many of them leave while communion is still taking place. But the worst part is they don’t think of their faith for the rest of the day or week, until next Sunday. Their faith is not part of their daily lives, and they don’t look for ways of including it daily. For these people Church and Faith are just something you do on a Sunday for an hour, and they believe that all it means to be Catholic is that you 1) go to Church each week; 2) get Baptized; 3) get married in a Catholic Church; 4) get your kids Baptized and Confirmed, and that’s it. They are sacramentalized Catholics with little faith. Then there is another group of people who are completely committed to their faith. They get involved in the church, they get involved in their community and they find ways of living their faith each day of the week. These people love God and love others, and they do their best to have a close relationship with Jesus. Then there is the rest of us – the silent majority. We have a strong belief. We go to church, perhaps not every week but more often than not. We have a relationship with Jesus, but we know and want it to be stronger. We want to be better Christians, but oftentimes we just don’t know what or how to do it. There is something inside us that’s missing, and we just can’t seem to fill that void and it’s almost like we’re reaching out for something, and it’s just beyond our reach. If you are like me, and are part of that group of silent majority then you need to read this book. It will help you find that something that you’ve been missing. It will help you discover how to be a better Christian and how to have a closer relationship to Christ. There was a spark of faith within me. As I have been reading this book, that spark has been growing into a flame. If you want the spark within you to grow into a flame, then read this book. Rebuilt is powerful, it’s revolutionary, it’s transformative. It’s exactly what we need to become better Christians and better Catholics.
SK. Alexander Sgroi MBA FIC
Knights of Columbus Insurance
Good Afternoon, My name is Marcel Provenzano. My family have been parishioners here since 1981. We have witnessed many changes to this church and congregation. We were a part of the actual construction of this building by helping to keep the construction site clean. Other parishioners were electricians, plumbers, carpenters and painters, but the most help of all was the support and partnership of all the families bringing coffee, snacks, water, or just being here to give an extra hand. Most of us didn’t know what or how we could help, but a plan was in place so we all stood up to volunteer our time and knowledge to be a part of this huge exciting project of building Holy Family Catholic Church. Here I was, sitting in that seat with my wife Anne and Father Laszlo offered us a book for FREE to read and participate in a new project. I wasn’t aware there was a new project in the works for Holy Family. Were you? What was Father Laszlo up to? Offering 500 FREE books to read? I had noticed subtle changes on Sundays when I came to Church for my weekly visit, but what is the reason for this FREE book? I started to feel different coming to church on Sundays. A greeter wished us Good Morning and held the door open for us, a new information counter, a Mission Statement, more ministries starting every week, my parking space was getting farther and farther away every Sunday as I pulled into the parking lot at 12:31pm for 12:30 Mass. What was going on here? After one Mass, I picked up the book and went home to start reading it. As I read it, my mind began churning, How can I help? Who can I invite? When can I make time to help? How can I introduce this into my daily life? I learned something new from this book and I continue to refer back to it as a manual not just for the church, but for my life as well. I’m on my second time reading it and I have earmarked and highlighted quite a few paragraphs. I look forward to the weekly book club meetings starting next week to discuss it in more depth. Times are changing folks and we here at Holy Family have to change with it! We all have our own ideas on how to change things and what we would like to see happen here. This is Our Church and only We can make it the BEST it can possibly be. Thank You Father Laszlo for this book and Happy Reading!
Marcel Provenzano
Holy Family Parish