Dear friends and supporters,
I am writing to inform you that June 30 will be my last day of employment at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Auburn. It was a difficult decision to come to but with the pandemic, uncertain parish finances, and declining numbers of parishioners and families in our programs, it was painfully obvious that something needed to change. I am thankful for my time there as I have befriended so many wonderful, love-filled people. So, after being employed by religious institutions, both protestant and Catholic, my entire adult life, I am embarking a whole new adventure.
As many of you know, I started Evangelize Me! because I wanted to be able to devote more time to evangelization and disciple making. That was just a little over a year ago. Since then I have presented and worked with eight parishes in Maine and Massachusetts. In fact, my Lenten schedule was full and I had to turn down other invitations. My goal for this past year was to get to the point where I could dedicate more time to Evangelize Me and reduce my hours at the parish. God has a funny way of answering our prayers sometimes!
This is all happening very fast and I am not sure what it all means yet. Fortunately, our nursery business did well this spring and I can work with my son, Isaiah, in his contracting business to pay the bills. I believe the Spirit is calling me to be a full time missionary with Evangelize Me. Please pray for Hollis and me. These last few months have been difficult as I know it has been for many of you. I am open to the Lord’s leading, but feel a bit like Abraham, being called to go into the unknown, a “place that I will show you.”
I look forward to the fall, somehow we will figure out ways to gather for classes and prayer. I know that as difficult as this season has been for both individuals and parishes, God is doing a good and powerful work in his people. As he promises to work all things for good, so with this, He will accomplish his redemptive plan for us and His Church. He does His best work "in the dark night of the soul."
I will keep you posted with plans and changes!
How are you surviving in this unprecedented time? I pray you are staying healthy! I just wanted to take a moment to share some thoughts with you. First of all, I wanted to remind us all that we were "born for such a time as this" (Esther 4:14), or as St. Joan of Arc said it, "I am not afraid because God is with me. I was born for this!" This pandemic is not a surprise to God, he is not scared or anxious, indeed, he is orchestrating every detail to accomplish something good out of all this evil. Which brings me to the second thing I wanted to remind us all about; The Catechism states that God will not allow an evil that he cannot bring a greater good out of (CCC 311); he will somehow use this world-wide pestilence for the ultimate good of humanity. Even in this, he would have us trust his plan and his purpose. I pray you will be able to soon see the good he is doing in your lives through this.
I was in a meeting this week where someone asked what God was doing in the midst of this great trial. I know what the Father is doing. It is the same thing he is always and constantly doing, he is searching for you! He knows this period of global strife will reach parts of your heart that he could never reach in any other way. Calling you to healing at the very roots of any shame and fear that still holds you in bondage.
Funny thing about God, He is doing that in my life too. Exposing my insecurities, my deepest motivations, and my heart felt (and believed) lies that keep me from actually knowing and trusting in his love. Even funnier…that is what he is doing with every person on the planet, in every life, every individual, in every time and culture and calamity, in the deepest, most cosmic, passionate, intimate, and personal way. Calling and drawing each person, using a global pandemic, no doubt caused ultimately of sin and human selfishness, but using it nevertheless, for truth and beauty and goodness.
And so in the midst of this ordeal, the question we really need to ask is not, “What is God doing?” But “What is God doing in you, through this?” This is an opportunity, when the people of the entire planet are faced with their own mortality, their own frailness and helplessness to introduce them to Love, Himself.
Let us join in prayer for each other that we are able to find God's peace and healing now and for the world, that there will be a new openness to faith as a result of this situation.
God bless you all!
God’s Plan for Healthier Relationships
We were created by Love and for love! Relationships are the most satisfying, meaningful, fulfilling things we have in life but we all know that they can also be the most difficult and painful things in our life as well. In this six part series we will explore God’s desire for relationships and the opportunity they provide for us to change and grow into more healthy, balanced human beings. We will explore boundaries, communication, conflict resolution and more in very practical lessons so that our families can become closer to God’s intention for them.
Sundays During Lent in Auburn
2:00 PM at St. Philip
6:00 PM at the Village Inn
To register for any of these Abundant Life Classes please email Donald.firstname.lastname@example.org
The Real Presence of Jesus!
The Adoration Chapel at Holy Cross Church is a beautiful, peaceful place to encounter God’s love in a special way. This Lent we are inviting you on a Lenten adventure - come and spend time focusing on our God’s passionate, personal love for YOU! Even if you have never experienced adoration before, make a Lenten commitment, and come visit each week during Lent. Those participating will gather as a group before Lent begins to start the journey off together. We will be receiving a set of meditations - one for each week of Lent - each focusing on some aspect of God’s love for us as individuals. At the end of Lent, we will come together again and share with each other how the Lord met us in our times of adoration!
Kick Off Gathering 1:00 PM, Sunday, February 23 at the Adoration Chapel with a meeting at the church hall afterward
Wrap Up Sharing Time 10:00 AM, Saturday, April 18 at the Adoration Chapel with a meeting at the church hall afterward
Presenter: Don Smith
To Register, please call:
Peg Bissonette at 207-577-2439 or Doris Belanger 207-577-1005
Waterville, Brunswick and Auburn!
Entering The Abundant Life
“I came so that they might have life
and have it more abundantly.” John 10:10
Jesus has offered to lead us into peace, joy and abundant life, yet so few of us have peace and joy these days. Are His promises true? Even in this crazy, modern age we live in? Are they true for you?
This Lent, we invite you to focus on God’s plan for your life and discover the truth about who God is and who you are, truths that can lead to greater peace and joy in your life.
God Has a Plan
God Loves You
If God loves Me, why does my life Stink?
Renewing your Mind
Surrendering to the Plan
The Most Powerful Prayer
Corpus Christi Parish in Waterville
Thursdays during Lent (February 27 – April 2)
Notre Dame Church Hall
All Saints Parish in Brunswick
Wednesdays during Lent (March 4 - April 8)
St. Charles Hall
Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Auburn
Saturdays during Lent (February 29 - April 4)
To register for any of these Abundant Life Classes please email email@example.com
I'm so excited to bring you all up to date! Our fall and Advent seasons were very busy; I traveled nearly 1,400 miles, attending over 20 meetings in nine locations, reaching around 400 people, speaking and training small group leaders. This doesn't include the classes I taught in Auburn as faith formation director for that parish!
As I travel across the state and interact with parishes and individuals, I see the hunger in God's people to learn the faith, and to be able share it effectively. The need for the type of ministry Evangelize Me does is obvious. This has helped my board of directors and I to clarify the vision of Evangelize Me and led to an update of our mission statement. It now reads as follows:
Our vision is to raise up a grassroots army of missionary disciples who are formed, trained, and supported to do the work of evangelization in their homes, parishes, and communities. We will accomplish this mission by making our formation and training classes as widely available as possible and by providing ongoing support for the work of evangelization.
We are gearing up for a busy and blessed Lent! We will be working with parishes in Waterville, Brunswick and Lewiston. I'll be sending out those details soon.
I want to thank all of you who have prayed for and contributed to Evangelize Me. None of this would be possible without your help. We offer our trainings, classes, and retreats as inexpensively as possible, relying entirely on the generosity and prayers of God's people to support the ministry. If you would like to help, here's the link!
I'll be in touch soon with the schedule for Lenten events! In the meantime, I am praying for God to richly lavish His grace upon you so that you can know the depth of the riches that are yours in Christ Jesus!
I write to you this morning with great thanksgiving to the Lord for all of the grace He bestows on us, moment by moment. This fall has certainly been a busy and memorable. Our daughter, husband and three children moved back to Maine from Indiana and our son and his wife announced that they are expecting their firstborn and are enrolled in RCIA and will be received into the Church at Easter!
In addition to that, I have had the chance to speak at events, meet some wonderful people and to be encouraged by the work the Lord is doing in his Church. There is a hunger amongst his followers to learn the faith more deeply and to learn the skills of sharing their faith with others. I believe that gathering, training, supporting and encouraging these disciples will lead to a renewal of faith for our parishes.
In addition to special events, I taught a Small Group Leadership class for the parishes in Jay and Farmington this fall. This seven week training teaches lay people the the basics of evangelization and small group formation and leadership. The goal is to empower lay people to begin small groups in their homes or workplaces for pastoral care or evangelization. Small groups provide the personal, intimate, community setting where people can build relationships that lead to conversion and growth.
I also taught a class based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the sacraments. What amazing grace God bestows through these wondrous mysteries! Most of these classes have already been added to our youtube channel, you can check them out here.
Finally, I want to express a special thanks for all of you who have helped support Evangelize Me! As we slowly grow our base of support, we will be able to offer more and more services and programs to parishes and begin a movement of well trained, knowledgable believers equipped to share the light of faith in this dark age.
December 1-2 Advent Retreat at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Jackman
December 6 Fireside Advent Meditations at Sky-Hy in Topsham
First in a Series! More info here!
December 8 Taizé Prayer Service with Fr. Bob Vaillancourt at 7:15PM at Holy Cross Church in Lewiston
December 11 Parish Advent Evening of Reflection at St. Joseph Church in Farmington
December 13 & 20 Fireside Advent Meditations at Sky-Hy in Topsham
More info here!
I am teaching a class on the sacraments this fall based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This Sunday I am going to do a presentation on the Eucharist. What I usually do for a preparation is read all the pertinent scriptures, and the section of the catechism that pertains to the subject, and then try to weave together a thoroughly Catholic and biblical understanding of these tremendous mysteries. I do this in an effort to help people understand what tremendous gifts of grace they really are.
I am convinced that if we could just catch the tiniest glimpse of God’s goodness, and grace, and love, which he is constantly pouring out on us, then we would cease to hesitate to give ourselves fully to Him. We would commit our lives into His care, surrendering the deepest part of our hearts completely to His will; then we would find ourselves turning around and pouring ourselves out for others, in the manifestation and completion of his love for us.
Every time I speak, I am hoping to help people get that glimpse, hoping to convey to them the cosmic and eternal ramifications of their individual existence, their choices, and their faith. It is more glorious than we can imagine (and so few us even try to imagine it) or comprehend, that God would create us - physical/spiritual beings with a free will to be able to choose to trust in God’s love for us. And then when we fall short, would generously pour himself out completely in a sacrifice for our redemption so that we could become united with Him and get to share in the very family life of the Trinity for all of eternity! This is why I work so hard on every presentation, while at the same time knowing fully that what I want to see accomplished can only be done by the Holy Spirit Himself.
So here it is, Friday afternoon. On Sunday, I will be teaching on the mystery of the Eucharist. I have probably studied and read more this week for this than I have for any other presentation I have done, and yet I only have the barest of an outline and just the beginning of a presentation.
Why? This mystery is just too deep, and powerful, to be expressed at all, never mind in the space of an hour. If I had eight hours instead of one, I just might be able to scratch the surface. With 25 or 30 hours, perhaps I could do an introduction.
The Catechism says that the Eucharist is “the source and summit” of our faith, its font and culmination, the thought in the Trinitarian mind before anything was created, and the great gathering together of all of creation for the wedding feast when the Son takes his Bride as his own in fullness. It is the union of man with God truly accomplished in the paschal sacrifice, and the union of all of humanity in Christ; and in these unions, the anticipated end of every scripture, fulfilled mysteriously and completely in the cross and resurrection, and communicated substantially and in reality through the sacraments, most pointedly, through the Eucharist.
Lord have mercy on me. Human words are incapable of expressing what needs to be communicated clearly for these precious ones of yours in order for them to begin to see this glory. I don’t know where to start…
Don Smith is a "revert" to the Catholic Church. After being a Protestant minister for over 20 years he is happy to be "home."