Here Is How What We Believe...Why We Believe It and Joe Sixpack Got Started
In late 2014, Fr. Tim Bannes and I were speaking about some general things in the parish. Father bemoaned the fact that most Catholics don’t know the faith as they should, but he was encouraged that one of the parishioners had recently asked him about some way of learning more about the faith. Although happy about this parishioner’s interest, Father was then faced with a new problem: how to give the man what he needed.
Father could buy some books or videos and try to get an adult class started, but he realized he might very well be sitting in that class all by himself after several session as parishioners began to lose interest. (Let’s face it, most people lack the charisma and experience to keep a catechism class interesting and lively.) So that expenditure might well have been a waste of precious resources. Then Father thought about setting up something for just this one parishioner by creating lessons from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, but preparation time would take longer than the actual time it would take to give the lesson, and poor Father was already over extended in this parish that really needs two priests. So he was sort of stuck with trying to come up with a solution.
The next day before Mass, I happened to notice that a lot of parishioners were reading the parish bulletin. Later in the day, I got to thinking about that and did a little research. I discovered that 85% of Catholics in the pew get 100% of their information about the Church from the parish bulletin. That’s when the concept of What We Believe...Why We Believe It struck me.
The next day, I spoke to Fr. Bannes about my idea of writing a weekly catechism lesson on both sides of an 8½ X 11 sheet of paper and printing however many copies were necessary to fill the bulletins. He knew I am a consecrated member of the Marian Catechist Apostolate, under the supervision of Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, so he knew he could trust what I wrote for the bulletin insert. With that in mind, Father told me it would be worth experimenting to see how it would be received. The only stipulation I got from Fr. Bannes to write these inserts was, since we were new to the parish, I wanted to remain anonymous. So that day Joe Sixpack was born!
The Results Were Amazing!
While we expected an occasional comment about the new bulletin insert, what we actually got blew us away.
Father told me soon after we began with What We Believe...Why We Believe It, people were telling him they were saving the inserts in binders and folders for future reference. Some have called Father after being out of town for the weekend and asked if he had any left so they could have the one they missed.
We also began to see people dressing and acting more respectfully during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Confession lines began to get longer too. Best of all, people began to get excited about the faith!
I realized that people would begin to have questions motivated by what they read in What We Believe...Why We Believe It, so I developed a website for lay people with a platform on www.JoeSixpackAnswers.com for them to be able to ask questions. Later I added a page full of great resources in the way of books and videos for the people to use (no, I don’t sell them). I also added a page full of common questions people have about Catholicism.
After the success in our little country parish, I decided to make What We Believe...Why We Believe It available all over the country.
- Like our parish, many parishioners in subscribing parishes are collecting every installment of What We Believe...Why We Believe It for their own reference.
- Priests have reported to me that their parishioners are also spending more time going to confession.
- Again, like our parish, there is less talking before Mass, fewer people leaving immediately after Communion, and people are dressing more in accordance with the dignity of the Most Holy Eucharist.
- Parishioners are requesting that their priests organize adult catechism classes that follow the same unvarnished presentation of the truth that Joe Sixpack gives.
- Parishioners have been organizing study groups in their homes, much the way people have traditionally formed Bible study groups.
- Parishioners have been telling me through the JoeSixpackAnswers.com website that they are beginning to study apologetics and want to begin sharing the faith with other people.
- I’ve actually had both priests and parishioners ask me to develop some other resources as well! And you can bet I plan to do that very thing! You can read about that here.
Here’s What Fr. Tim Bannes of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church In the Archdiocese of St. Louis Has to Say
Fr. Tim Bannes
St. John the Baptist Catholic Church
Archdiocese of St. Louis
“What We Believe…Why We Believe It has been a great answer! As an insert, the message goes out to all people who take home a bulletin from church. They can read and re-read it at their leisure, and save them for future reference. It’s only one page at a time, so it doesn’t overwhelm anyone. Actually, because it is an ongoing series, people look forward to next week’s insert. (I actually had a parishioner call the rectory to get the latest installment mailed to them because they were out of town the previous weekend!) And, it obviously doesn’t need to have separate meeting times that might be difficult to schedule.
“What We Believe…Why We Believe It is a wonderful tool to educate, re-educate, remind us of who we are as Catholics in living out our mission of Jesus Christ.”
Fr. Tim Bannes, Pastor
St. John the Baptist Catholic Church
Villa Ridge, Missouri
Now Is The Time For Your Parish To Subscribe To What We Believe...Why We Believe It!
Joe Sixpack has strategically planned the entire first year’s issues of What We Believe...Why We Believe It to reach into the hearts and minds of your parishioners with the immutable truths of Catholicism. I begin with the first several issues establishing that Jesus founded the Catholic Church: He brought it into being, structured it, and passed onto it His own mission to continue His work of redemption. As a part of that, the Church’s authority to teach infallibly is established so readers will take to heart more seriously the teachings that follow. The remainder of the year is basic coverage of the most important aspects of each article of the Apostles Creed, Divine Grace & the Seven Sacraments, Christian Morality and the Life of Virtue. The second and subsequent years delves deeper into some of these eternal truths, uses repetition to teach what was earlier taught but from a different perspective, and challenges the reader to actually engage Christ in their daily lives to apply and live classical Catholic spirituality.
These aren’t merely boring presentations of catechetical truths. Let’s face it, for the average “Joe Sixpack” in the pew the Catechism of the Catholic Church and most catechisms become the stuff of yawns and sleepy eyes. What We Believe...Why We Believe It isn’t like that. Using stories, anecdotes, the lives of the saints, and events from history, Joe presents the Church’s timeless truths in a way the reader will not soon forget. Best of all, the Church’s teachings are presented in the same tenor as Jesus used when preaching on earth: charitable yet unapologetically forceful and with authority.
Unlike other resources available to parish priests, there are many advantages to having a subscription to What We Believe...Why We Believe It:
- No physical product to manage or store, as What We Believe...Why We Believe It is a digital download resource that is completely managed from any computer.
- Since the product isn’t physical, you won’t have to wait for a shipment to arrive (hoping it makes it on time), and there are no shipping costs.
- Once you download each month’s installments, they are yours to use however you like, as often as you like… forever; as RCIA handouts, in your online bulletin, in your parish school for older students, in your parish outreach programs, et cetera. (For additional ideas of how to get the most out of What We Believe...Why We Believe It, contact Joe Sixpack.)
What We Believe...Why We Believe It is available on a subscription basis for a recurring pittance of $19.95 (as costs of production continue to rise, the price will increase to $24.95 for new subscribers effective April 1, 2016). As the funds become available, Joe Sixpack will be developing quite a number of other resources for both the laity and parish priests for use in evangelization, education, catechetical formation, and spiritual growth. And your subscription is guaranteed never to increase… ever.
Help your parishioners to learn, understand, and live our holy and ancient faith effortlessly and lock in your forever guaranteed subscription rate by clicking on the button below NOW.