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Jan 20, 2021

Evangelizing in Diverse Parishes

The Ascension Team

Numbers don’t reform a parish, prayer does. Today, Gomer responds to a listener’s email on building community in diverse parishes.

Snippet from the Show

“Pray for renewal, work for reform.”


Please keep Amber VanVickle in your prayers as she fights the devastating effects of cancer

Listener Email

I have a question about parish ministry. My parish is in Sweden (on the very fringes of the Catholic world), and it is poor financially. The only ministry we have is a children’s catechism group that is somewhat working. Besides that, any other faith formation is basically non-existent. I’m worried that we are slowly falling apart. We have lost a lot of parishioners who have left the Catholic faith and our parish, barely no young adults left and teenagers are now almost non-existent.

Complicating matters is that our parish consists of people from (if I remember correctly) about 30 or so different countries and different traditions. Some speak only a bit of Swedish, some speak only a bit of English, and so everything has to be done in at least those two languages at the same time, and parishioners tend to group together with only their own fellow countrymen. We tried to form a young adults group but I think because of language difficulties and lack of form it fell apart. 

Myself coming from a protestant background before I converted to the Catholic faith, feel disheartened at the lack of community and saddened at the loss of fellow catholics and fellow potential converts, that are left to fend for themselves and usually leave before even getting close to joining the church. 

What would be some practical tips on how a parish like ours can get started to at least build some sort of community and ministry once our country opens up after covid restrictions? Where could we start and how? Especially since our access to faithful Catholic programs and resources here in Sweden are very limited. Thank you for your show, I love it! 

Kind regards, 


Things you can do to strengthen your faith

  1. Pray every day for conversion
  2. Fast at least once a week
  3. Go to confession often and receive the Eucharist as soon as you can after
  4. Throw yourself into Mark’s Gospel
  5. Meet weekly with your faith support group

Practical Takeaways

  1. Devote yourself to the Apostles Teaching: Study the Gospel of Mark
  2. Devote yourself to weekly fellowship: Prioritize your small group
  3. Offer up mass for your parish
  4. Go to places of darkness in your town and pray


Meet Your Hosts


Michael “Gomer” Gormley

Michael “Gomer” Gormley

Michael has been leading evangelization and ministry efforts for the past ten years, both as a full-time parish staff member and as a speaker and consultant for parishes, dioceses, and Catholic campus ministries.

Michael is also the founder and creative director of, and the producer and cohost of a Catholic young adult podcast Catching Foxes, which discusses the collision of Faith and Culture.

He is married to his college sweetheart, Shannon, and they have about 1,000 children and get about 3 hours of sleep a night, which is alright by him.


David “Dave” VanVickle

Dave VanVickle

Dave VanVickle fell in love with the Lord at the age of fourteen and has since dedicated his life to bringing others into a radical relationship with Christ.

Dave is a speaker and retreat leader who focuses on proclaiming the universal call to holiness, authentic Catholic spirituality, spiritual warfare and deliverance. Additionally, Dave has over ten years of experience assisting Priests with their ministries of exorcism and deliverance.

Dave resides in Pittsburgh with his wife Amber and their five children: Sam, Max, Judah, Josie and Louisa.

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