The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic for a Parish or Diocese
For Your Parish
The Four Signs can manifest themselves in different ways from one person to the next. But imagine for a moment if everyone in your parish did these four things:
- 1. Spent ten minutes each day in prayerful conversation with God.
- 2. Read five pages of a great Catholic book each day.
- 3. Gave one percent more of their income to support the mission of their parish than they did last year.
- 4. Did one thing each week to share the genius of Catholicism with someone else.
How would your parish be different after one year? How would it be different ten years from now?
Prayer, Study, Generosity, and Evangelization. It is a simple plan, but complex problems demand simple solutions. It is the simplicity that allows widespread adoption and participation.
So, before we move on, how are you doing? Are you a Dynamic Catholic? Give yourself a score between 1 and 10 for each of the Four Signs over the past year. (Circle your score.) If you wish, go back and reread the descriptions of each of the four signs, one at a time, and then score yourself.
How did you do? Over the course of more than three thousand interviews, the 7% rated themselves at 6.5 on average across all four signs, or 26 out of 40. They rated themselves highest in the first sign (Prayer) with 7.3, lowest in the fourth sign (Evangelization) with 4.9. In the second sign (Study) they rated themselves 6.8 and in the third sign (Generosity) 7. So it is clear that even the 7% realize that they have much room for improvement.
As human beings we have a great psychological need to know we are making progress, and so finding ways to measure progress is critical even in an area like spirituality, which is so difficult to measure.
It is also critical to be mindful that the Four Signs are interrelated. For example, if you read five pages of a good Catholic book each day (Study), your prayer life would no doubt improve (Prayer), you would be more likely to talk with others about the ideas you are reading about (Evangelization), and the more you know God and his Church the more likely you are to be generous with God and neighbor (Generosity).
The Four Signs provide a perfect model for renewal in your parish. Imagine if you focused everything you do as a parish on one of the Four Signs each year for the next four years. How would your parish be different four years from now?
Now take it a step further… How would your diocese be different if every Catholic did these four things? The Four Signs also provide a powerful model for renewal in your diocese.