Coal Valley, area parishes plan 6-week series

COAL VALLEY — If the members of St. Maria Goretti Parish get their way, their church — and all the churches in the Quad Cities area — will be a little fuller for Christmas.

The adult faith formation committee of St. Maria Goretti Parish is sponsoring a six-week series called “Inviting Catholics Home,” which is planned for Mondays at 7 p.m. starting Nov. 3. The sessions will be held in the parish hall of the church, 220 E. 22nd Ave.

“A recent research poll indicated that one in every 10 Americans are former Catholics. When you think about it, we know there are lots of folks out there,” said Sister Sandra Brunenn, OSB, pastoral associate at St. Maria Goretti.

The series grew out of a three-year process, guided by St. Maria Goretti’s adult faith formation committee, to be involved in evangelization as a parish, according to Sister Sandra. Each year parishioners have come together to look at how they’re doing and what the next steps should be.

Hearing of the success of “Inviting Catholics Home,” a Liguorian program that was being used at St. Mary Immaculate Parish in Plainfield, the committee contacted Deacon Tom O’Connell there and invited him to Coal Valley for a visit. Sister Sandra said they liked how invitational the program was and that it used the needs of those who came to them as the starting point for the weekly sessions.

In addition to their sister parish, Mary Our Lady of Peace in Orion, St. Maria Goretti parishioners expanded the program to include St. Pius X and Sacred Heart in Rock Island, Sacred Heart and Christ the King in Moline, St. Anne’s and St. Mary’s in East Moline, Our Lady of Guadalupe in Silvis, St. Ambrose in Milan, and St. Patrick’s in Colona.

“Everyone responded positively,” Sister Sandra said, noting that the staff for the series includes Father James DeBisschop, pastor of St. Maria Goretti and Mary Our Lady of Peace; Father Duane Jack, pastor of St. Patrick’s Parish in Colona; and Sister Kathleen Mullin, BVM, pastoral associate at Sacred Heart Parish in Moline.

Each person who attends will be asked which parish they expect to be connected with at the end of the series. Those parishes will conduct whatever follow-up is needed.

Those who plan to participate in “Inviting Catholics Home” are asked to register, although that is not necessary. “We would just like a sense of how many to expect the first night,” Sister Sandra told The Post.

To register or to receive more information, contact Sister Sandra or Nancy Robison by phone at (309) 799-3414 or by e-mail at sbrunenn@ or

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