Catholic evangelization in mission communities in rural Appalachia : Reflections on personal and Glenmary experiences
Robert J Hoffman
The primary purpose of this project was to investigate the Catholic perspective on evangelization and to see how these principles can be applied to the rural mission areas of Appalachia. The report begins with an historical perspective of evangelization followed by a Catholic and Protestant perspective and the difference between these views. Glenmary's fifty-two years experience and contribution to evangelization are reviewed. Three case studies of rural missionology show the diverse approaches of Catholic evangelization in Appalachia. The Virginia study is a Base Christian Community model. The Kentucky study is a Parish Team model, and the Tennessee model demonstrates a Community Development approach. The last chapter covers general reflections on evangelization and some recommendations for new ministers coming to Appalachia. For over fifty years, the Glenmary Society has challenged its members to evangelize the rural Appalachian population of over twenty million people. At present, over one hundred professed Glenmary members minister to 1.25 million people in thirty-five base parishes and thirty-seven mission stations. Some outsiders look up to Glenmary as "experts" in this ministry. They think we have the experience, knowledge, and success stories to teach others how to be successful missioners in Appalachia and the Deep South. But, the truth is that we are still groping for answers. The major findings were that Appalachia is a difficult place to do Catholic evangelization because of its unique cultural heritage, religious tradition, and depressing poverty. The area is highly unchurched. Glenmary mission parishes average about one-half of one percent (0.5%). Sometimes there is prejudice against the Catholic Church because its tradition differs greatly from the predominate Protestant churches in the area.
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Doctor of Ministry
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