November 3, 2017

Springfield Diocese hosts workshop on ministering to families

Story and photos by Julie Beaulieu

Tim Hogan presents a workshop on family ministry to diocesan priests and parish leaders at the Bishop Marshall Center in Springfield.


SPRINGFIELD – Parish staff from around the Springfield Diocese gathered at the Bishop Marshall Center in Springfield on Nov. 2 for a workshop on parish outreach and engaging families.

Tim Hogan, a psychologist and lecturer, presented the topic, “The Gift of Cultural Hurricanes: How to Build Bridges that Empower Families,” which included many ideas on how to fit Catholic worship into the “Information Age” while keeping young families involved.

“The information revolution is radically changing family life today, and not in a surface kind of way, but at the very core,” said Hogan.

“The very assumptions we have about what family life is, how we connect to each other, how we connect to the church, all of that just got changed. (Concepts of ) what it means to be Catholic, what it means to be a good person, what it means to be a follower of Jesus, all of those things have been deconstructed,” explained Hogan.

Hogan, who travels to parishes nationwide, said that it’s not only a problem in all parts of the U.S., but a problem across the globe.

Parish leaders discussed how to adapt to the way the family unit has changed; how traditional role models have changed; and how priorities have changed, such as, sports taking a priority over attending weekly Mass.

Then parishes shared ideas on how to draw the youth and young families back into practicing the Catholic faith. Ideas were discussed from bringing back more traditional social activities to tapping into social media, electronics and cell phone apps.

“You can tell that this is a really engaging group,” said Hogan, of attendees from the Springfield Diocese.

“These are people who have thought this through and are out on the cutting edge. This is an unusually progressive, insightful group and I can’t wait to hear more of their ideas today,” he added.

Sister of St. Joseph Paula Robillard, assistant to the bishop, had attended one of Hogan’s presentations a few years ago.

“The issue always comes up about families and how we relate to today’s families, so the bishop decided it would be good to have this day to focus on families and how to reach out to families in our parishes. From everything I’ve heard today, it was a huge success,” said Sister Robillard.

Two more workshops with Hogan have been scheduled for this weekend. On Nov. 3, there will be a Parish Pre-Cana Program Discussion, 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. in the Bishop Marshall Center; and on Nov. 4, the diocese’s annual Catechetical Congress will be held at Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Parish in Westfield from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

For more information, and to download PDFs of the Nov. 2 Power Point presentation, log on to