National Headquarters Staff Volunteer for Neighbors' Duck Races

by Lenore Popp

Workers at the National Headquarters at Saint Paul's Outreach were able to enjoy a change of pace and fresh breath of air this Wednesday at Neighbors Inc. 12 staff members, ranging from Marketing, to Operations, to Finance, spent their morning volunteering at Neighbors Inc., a non-profit organization that serves local low-income Dakota County community members with emergency assistance and supportive assistance programs. Located in South St. Paul, SPO staff members either participated in projects related to Neighbors' food shelf or their annual duck races. 

This year will be Neighbors' 9th annual duck race, a free community event to raise money for their services. Rubber ducks are purchased and then raced down a ramp; prizes are awarded to the top three winning ducks. SPO staff helped in organizing over 5,000 rubber ducks for these races, along with creating signs, and preparing craft materials for small children to enjoy. 

With so many volunteers at once, SPO staff members were also able to help serve logistically by moving and stacking boxes of clothes and food, grinding whole coffee beans previously donated, and attaching cooking instructions to pinto beans.

This will be the first of many volunteer activities that Saint Paul's Outreach Headquarters partakes in, providing a team building activity outside of the office, as well as, a tangible way of giving back to the local community. 

Record Attendance Inspires Expansion to Two SNEs in 2017

In the summer of 2004, 20 Missionaries from Saint Paul's Outreach (SPO) gathered at the first ever School of the New Evangelization (SNE). Here Missionaries were equipped for their role on campus for the upcoming year. Over the next 12 years, SNE would grow significantly in size, scope, and influence to become the premier immersive evangelization training experience for Catholic college students in the United States. 

As more and more students and campus ministry leaders heard about the impact of SNE on college campuses, attendance steadily grew - from 20 in 2004 to 400 this summer. And naturally, interest in starting new SPO Chapters around the country quickly followed. Thus, SPO's expansion from two Chapters in one state (2004) to 16 Chapters across eight states (2016) can be directly linked to the growth, dynamism, and effectiveness of the School of the New Evangelization. 

Students who attended the 2016 School of the New Evangelization

Students who attended the 2016 School of the New Evangelization

And now, it's time for another leap.

Ohio students showing their school pride, spelling out OHIO!

Ohio students showing their school pride, spelling out OHIO!

In order to increase our impact nationally, make room for more students and campus ministry leaders, and to respond to Jesus' call to "make disciples of all nations" in August 2017, SPO will for the first time host two SNEs: 

  • SNE Minnesota at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN. 
  • SNE Ohio at Catholic Youth Summer Camp near Columbus, OH.

Stay tuned for more information about dates and registration. In the meantime, please pray for the 400 students and campus ministry leaders who recently gathered at our largest SNE to-date (August 6-13, 2016). They are about to hit their campuses with the love of Jesus at the start of the school year. Read our latest post to hear more detail on our last nation-wide SNE. 

If you'd like more information about SNE, check out the website. And for an insider's look at what SNE is all about, check out our first ever SNE Documentary (below)! 

SNE 2016: Forming Missionaries of Truth and Mercy

by Elena Ryan, University of St. Thomas Student

For most college students, the week of August 6 was no change of pace from their regular summer schedules of vacation and summer jobs, but for 400 young men and women from across the country, the first Saturday of August meant the beginning of the School of the New Evangelization (SNE) - a week long conference held by Saint Paul's Outreach (SPO) at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.

The conference comes toward the end of summer as a means of preparing students to go out on college campuses and reach their peers with the good news of Jesus Christ and his Church. The week is centered around times of prayer, dynamic talks, and rich community living. Students have a chance to encounter Christ in  a new way, become better equipped for their faith life and mission, and build deep brotherhood and sisterhood. 

In today's college culture, SNE is more needed than ever before. Students are far from God and confused about truth and morality, but are nonetheless hungry for meaning. The Church calls us to reach out to them, and it's their fellow-students who can minister to them most effectively, by befriending them and inviting them into a vibrant community of believers, where they can experience love and an invitation to follow Christ. 

This year, the theme of the conference was, "Worship in Spirit and in Truth" (John 4:24). Speakers focused especially on typing in the significance of worshiping in Spirit and in truth while immersed in a culture that devalues objective truth. Breakout sessions were designed specifically to give students tools for mission, holiness, and building community that are effective even in the midst of students' busy schedules, and the hostile secularism of party culture and academia. Speakers showed the importance of knowing the cultural climate in order to be faithful Christians and merciful missionaries on campus. With a better understanding of popular post modernist ideas, students are able to evangelize on campus with understanding, charity, and confidence in the truth. Notable guest speakers included Dr. Daniel Keating, Associate Professor of Theology at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit, and Allan Wright, Academic Dean for Evangelization in the Diocese of Paterson, NJ. 

Part of what is special about SNE, and indeed SPO, is that it is often the environment itself - one of vibrant, authentic Christ-centered relationships - that has a even deeper impact than the presentations. As one participant put it this year:

"The information in all of the talks was helpful, but above all, my takeaway from the week was being motivated by a group of men that were confident in their identity in God and were willing to fight beside me in the spiritual battle which is for the souls of students at college campuses. I was encouraged by the attitudes and faithfulness of the men around me, and it made me want to more actively follow Jesus .This was in accordance with a saying that is known by many guys in SPO, "Iron sharpens iron, as one man sharpens another," (Proverbs 27:17).
- Minnesota Student

In addition to contingents from SPO's 16 Chapters across the country, there were guest groups from Sonoma State University in California, St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, the University of Mary in North Dakota, and St. Vincent College in Pennsylvania. SNE 2016 was the largest ever, and to accommodate further growth SPO is launching two SNEs in 2017: one in Minnesota and another in Ohio! Read all about it here. 

Missionaries Train for Upcoming School Year

By: Angeli Fernandes

With the summer winding down and the beginning of the semester just around the corner, the Missionaries are gearing up to spread the word of God on college campuses all over the United States!

It began on July 24th, when Mission Directors from all of the Chapters came together to begin planning for the year.  Simultaneously, we held our first annual Musicians Training. Charismatic worship is a central aspect to how SPO operates and evangelizes, thus, we need to build and train worship leaders to make this charism sustainable.  

Here worship leaders learned: 

  • WHY we worship the Lord
  • and HOW we bring worship onto our campuses

After 3 days of preliminary training for Directors and worship leaders, the remaining Missionaries arrived for Mission Team Training, a week filled with prayer, community, and preparation for the coming year.  Earlier in the summer, these Missionaries received training on WHY we serve, but this training session taught them HOW to bring people to Christ. 

Throughout this week of training, teams broke out into team process times, allowing each Chapter to discuss and apply training to their specific campuses. This time set aside for process and application has proven very fruitful, not only allowing preparations to be made before the school year starts, but also providing opportunities for new team members to work with each other for the first time. Veteran team members shared knowledge and experience, and new team members contributed excited and new ideas. 

SPO Missionaries learning to be teammates both on campus and on the court.

SPO Missionaries learning to be teammates both on campus and on the court.

Although training covered many strategies on how to evangelize, the Lord continued to work in the very hearts of the Missionaries. Sarah Hebel, a second year Mission Leader at Seton Hall University, shared her struggles of approaching training with the intention of learning the right way to evangelize.  She wanted a cheat sheet that told her exactly what to do. If a certain situation arose, she could follow bracket right or left, and it would be the perfect solution. Through her time at training, she learned "What you really have to do is dive in and let God show up."  She went on to explain that you can not rely on your own skills or your own strategies to get you through a day on mission. What you have to depend on is letting God guide your conversation and use you in a way that brings others to Him.

Many of the speakers were of Mission Directors and experienced staff.  Megan Hasting, who will be serving with SPO for a fourth year at the University of St. Thomas, spoke about her challenges of Missionary life. She recalled times when she just wanted to stop and take a break.  However, she encountered a student for whom she felt a burning desire to lead them to Christ. The Lord spoke to her through this situation, showing her that by seeing people through the eyes of Christ, she should have that burning desire for every single person that she meets.  No matter where we are, even just in line at the cafeteria, we should pray to be open to evangelistic encounters and look for them in our day.  As Pope Francis said, "Evangelization consists mostly of patience and disregards strains of time."

 
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HR Update: New Consultant and Customized Courses

Although Mission Team Training is not a new event, Saint Paul’s Outreach has taken initiative to implement new and additional training programs that allow Mission Directors and other experienced staff members to gain more leadership skills to grow within the organization. With over 40 new missionaries and employees, it is increasingly important to take the steps to continue building professionalism and opportunities for all staff members who wish to grow. To accommodate for our growing numbers in staff, SPO has recently hired a human resources consultant, Becky Judd from HR Foundational Solutions, to guide us in HR best practices and training.

 

The first session took place at the beginning of the week, July 26th. Approximately 30 Mission Directors, Center Directors, and National Headquarters staff took part in customized training the covered an array of topics:

  • Pro-active anti-harassment initiatives
  • Navigating supervision and conducting performance reviews
  • Overall vision and strategy for advancement/development
  • How program-based roles operate within the realm of finance

Please continue to keep the Saint Paul's Outreach staff in your prayers as we enter into our annual conference, the School of the New Evangelization, and then head onto college campuses to continue God's mission!

Mission Training: Speak Lord, Your Servants Are Listening

Mission Training: Speak Lord, Your Servants Are Listening

On June 3, over 100 Missionaries arrived in Minnesota at the SPO headquarters to begin Mission Leader Training (MLT). These Missionaries have heard and responded to the Lord's call to spend the next few years of their life sharing the Gospel to students on college campuses. During this week-long training, they will dive deeper in prayer, receive instruction on SPO's evangelization strategies, and become fully immersed into the community life of SPO and the Brotherhood of Hope.

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