By Liz Sullivan
Over the last several years the Diocese of San Jose (DSJ) has identified Word, Worship and Witness as the characteristic elements of Evangelization. Under the guidance of Bishop Patrick J. McGrath, the Diocese has engaged in surveys, diocesan assemblies, deanery meetings and conversations with parish leaders and Chancery personnel regarding the structure and functions of the Office of Parish Services (OPS), specifically how they could be more aligned with the needs of the DSJ parishes and schools.
On March 31, Bishop McGrath announced the formation of the Department for Evangelization and named Father John Hurley, CSP, as Vicar. This department will replace OPS and include services in the areas of Liturgy, Youth and Young Adults, Faith Formation, Marriage and Family Life, Cultural Diversity, Social Ministries, and the Institute for Leadership in Ministry (ILM).
“I have full confidence that the formation of this new department and our ongoing work with leadership in the areas of Word, Worship and Witness, our evangelical efforts will be well-resourced and appropriately aligned with the needs of the parishes and communities throughout our local church,” said the Bishop in making the announcement.
A Paulist, Father Hurley has a broad background in the area of Evangelization, both locally and nationally. Ordained in 1977, Hurley has worked on parish, diocesan and national levels. A native of New York, Hurley served as pastor of Old Saint Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco where he currently resides. He earned a B.A. in Religious Education from the Catholic University of America, a Master of Divinity degree from Washington Theological Union and a Doctor of Ministry degree from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley.
In 2014, Hurley launched New Evangelization Strategies. Through this ministry, based in San Francisco, Hurley helps diocesan leaders, parish leaders, councils and others create a new paradigm for evangelization. Among his many assignments, Hurley led the Archdiocese of Baltimore Department of Evangelization. In addition, in 2014, Hurley became an adjunct faculty member of the Academy of Church Leadership at Santa Clara University.
The mission of the Paulist Fathers is to evangelize, or preach, the Gospel.
“I have known the Bishop a very long time and I welcomed the offer to lead the Department for Evangelization,” said Hurley, who officially began his new role on April 18. “The Bishop is very committed to what we want to put in place through Word, Worship and Witness. I thrive on the challenge of doing something like this and it has been a blessing to find the Diocese of San Jose. I am very energized by all of it.”
Hurley added, “I think we are in a good place in the Diocese of San Jose. The question is how the offices serve the parishes. I see my role as a listener. I think that the most effective means of evangelization is listening. We need to more effectively respond to the needs of the parishes, prioritize and function as a cohesive unit.”