Article: The Missionary Transformation of Sant’Eustorgio Parish

When Don Pigi was first appointed as pastor of Sant’Eustorgio parish (Italy), only 12% of parishioners attended Sunday mass. Don Pigi felt discouraged and trapped in routine, unable to connect meaningfully with his parish community. 

This changed when he learned about the parish renewal happening at St. Boniface in Florida under Fr. Michel Eivers. St. Boniface had thriving parish evangelization cells – small groups meeting weekly in members’ homes for prayer, sharing life experiences, and growing in faith. 

Don Pigi realized engaging lay people in evangelization efforts was key to revitalizing his parish.

Don Pigi introduced the cell model in his paris after training lay leaders. The cells focused on fostering a personal relationship with Jesus, praying, supporting each other, and sharing faith within one’s daily life and networks. 

Cell members were encouraged to be “fishers of men”, witnessing through actions and sharing how Christ changed their lives. The cells multiplied as members invited others. They remained connected to the broader parish through structured leadership links. 

Don Pigi transformed the parish into a welcoming, Spirit-led community where people could experience and share God’s love. Yet he knew renewing the community required more than just small groups. He provided continual training to members on prayer, caring for others, and bearing witness. He wanted the community to move beyond head knowledge and have a living faith borne of personal encounter with Christ. This required ongoing experiences of God through prayer, scripture, sacraments, and service. Faith is caught more than taught. 

Don Pigi taught that true evangelization comes from modeling God’s mercy and testifying to how Jesus has concretely impacted one’s life. It is an invitation to relationship, not merely convincing arguments. Those transformed by Christ can transform others.

Through adoration, parish cells and a focus on evangelization, Sant’Eustorgio parish was renewed as members supported each other in living and sharing a vibrant faith. 

Find out more about parish evangelizing cells

Cell Leader Formation Manual 

Parish Evangelizing Cells in St. Boniface Parish

Pierre-Alain Giffard

Other articles on evangelization and parish revitalization:


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