Fallon on Mallon occurred yesterday at Saint Katherine Drexel Parish in Alton, New Hampshire at our monthly men’s group meeting.  Tony Fallon here did a presentation on Father James Mallon’s book Divine Renovation which shares the successful story of, and provides the successful road map for, reversing the downward trend in church attendance.  It is hopeful and challenging.  Yesterday’s Gospel bit about reaching out to the unwanted tax collectors and others others not so attractive was a great lead in as Deacon Rick opined.

My handwritten notes for the presentation were rewritten a few times and I include them here.  My computer was off in the computer hospital at the time of writing.  The book that I had kept unmarked on the first read to keep it clean in case I passed it on is now covered with highlights and has tons of torn up paper bookmarks.

Father Mallon shares the mismatch between what he got geared up to do in seminary and the day to day of parish life along with the pain of closing churches and shrinking attendance.  Next Father Mallon shares the story of how he stepped out of the comfort zone, rolled the dice, and succeeded in increasing attendance and building up the church.  He does a nice job laying out the cues and clues from Christ and Christ’s Church.

Christ’s last command that is found in the closing of the Gospels and the opening of Acts is to ask for and wait for the Power of the Powerful Holy Spirit to Power Us Up and then to go make disciples to the ends of the earth.  My title boils this down to Recruit to Christ Charismatically!  I like Recruit to Christ better than evangelize as many don’t understand the definition of evangelization or have a negative connotation from the television evangelist’s missteps.

Father Mallon illustrates how this Command of Christ to Recruit to Christ while Empowered by The Holy Spirit is reinforced by Christ’s Church with the Second Vatican Council and all of the Popes since then.  He also shares the similar calling in the Latin American Bishop’s document Aparecida which Pope Francis helped generate before stepping up to the lead shepherd’s post.

One of the things that I was ready for and did some successful navigation of is the prejudice against and fear of being empowered by the Holy Spirit.  Those in the Charismatic Movement have a role in this fear by not recognizing and respecting the broad range of Gifts of The Holy Spirit or Charisms.  It is OK if not all speak in tongues, have gift of words, or can lay hands on to heal then & there.  We have to recognize and read in Sacred Scripture how some use for administration, others for .. … ..  On the other hand, those not willing to ride the wave of The Holy Spirit washing over us and clenching in fear need to realize they are worshiping a false god of fear and foolishly trying to control.

What I tried to sell and succeeded with some success is that we are necessarily Charismatic if we are Christian.  I sought to nix the bit of “I’m not a Charismatic Catholic” or “I’m not a Charismatic Christian.”  Christ’s last Command is for us to ask for, seek, pray for, be empowered by, and receive The Holy Spirit and then to go Recruit to Christ to the ends of the earth.  Being empowered by The Holy Spirit with Charisms, Gifts, Special Abilities, Special Powers, Guidance, Whispers, Insights, Healing, Hope, Generosity, Courage, and Cheerfulness is Christ’s last Command of us.  To be a Christian we must seek to be Charismatic.  And we need to, with Christ’s Love, respect all the broad range of gifts and never judge our gifts as greater than others.  And we must welcome The Holy Spirit and allow Him to Empower us beyond our knowledge or control.   We must not worship control or fear or think we can be isolated.

Early in the presentation yesterday I shared that I thought that the point of the story of The Garden of Eden is that we are only able to know Christ’s Love for each and every person.  All else is a mystery and we need to leave knowledge in the sense of full understanding with God and in the realm of God.

We need to remain committed to Coperiority seeking to build us up by building others up.

Back to the book, it goes through a lot about how the Parish of Saint Benedict in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Father Mallon have stepped out of their comfort zones, sought to recruit to Christ, and flourished their parish.  It is hopeful, challenging, exciting, and refreshing.  I like it better than the similar book Rebuilt about a parish in Baltimore.  I thought Rebuilt painted the picture of those who didn’t get with the program to clearly so as to get personal and I not at all a fan of shuffling kids off to the basement for a separate service.  I love Father Cole’s joyful claim of “There’s the future of our Church!” with each child’s contribution to the sounds of a Mass.

I Love You and so does Jesus, God, and The Holy Spirit along with Mother Mary, Saint Joseph, Your Guardian Angel, Saint Francis, Saint Therese Lisieux, all the Holy Angels, and all the Holy Saints.