Easter: A Time of Conversion and Encounter

In the last year, the Archdiocese of Baltimore began a renewal process that we call “Be Missionary Disciples”.  Read more

Understanding the Liturgy: Let’s Start at the Very Beginning

This blog post corresponds to the mission priority of  “Vibrant Liturgy”

First, let me introduce myself. I am the new Director of the Office of Worship and Sacramental Formation. I have just moved to Baltimore from the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana where I was the Director of the Office for Divine Worship and the Catechumenate for the last 15 years.  Read more

From Lukewarm to On Fire for Christ

This blog post corresponds to the mission priority of  “Encounter”

An encounter with Christ changes a person’s life. During a recent spiritual exercise, I recalled the moment that I had that encounter: the moment when my whole life changed.  Read more

Vibrancy and Richness in Liturgy

This blog post corresponds to the mission priority of “Vibrant Liturgy”

“You will get out of this experience what you put into it.” These formative words were spoken at my first retreat in high school and have served me ever since. When I feel bored or I check out, I take a moment to consider what I am putting into the experience. Am I paying attention? No. Am I fully present? No. In what ways am I contributing to the experience? I’m not. Well, no wonder I’m bored! Read more

A “Me First” Mission

This blog post corresponds to the mission priority of Encounter

It’s not often in Christian theology that we hear encouragement to live “me first.” This is one of those rare exceptions.

Fear not – this is not a heretical blog post about the virtue of selfishness. It’s about one of the six core mission priorities set forth for our Be Missionary Disciples pastoral planning process, the priority of “Encounter.” Read more

Accompany: Where Are We Going and Who Is Driving?

Inevitably, when my wife and I are able to find a babysitter for our three delightful (read: crazy) children under five years old to go on a date, we sit in the car for fifteen minutes trying to figure out where to go for dinner. Neither of us has a clue what we are hungry for and what might satisfy that hunger. Similarly, the act of accompaniment can appear to lack direction as well. Read more

Here’s to New Life Bearing Lasting Fruit in the New Year

“Do you have the Christmas spirit yet?”

As Christmas drew near, this is the question we asked one another as children. The “Christmas spirit” was something tangible and unmistakable: we knew if we had it or if we didn’t. Mounting excitement at the immanent arrival of Santa Claus and his sack of toys? Okay, yes, perhaps. But there was more to it. Read more

Welcoming Those Who Grieve

When we think of “welcome” as a mission priority, what comes to mind? A user-friendly website? Parking attendants? A family-friendly Sunday experience?

Yes, yes, and YES! Read more

Leading Through Change

Our recently published Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan describes how we will be forming pastorates that “…will be centers of worship and prayer that promote lifelong conversion and reverence for the Catholic faith.” As parishes “come together,” as my colleague Daphne Daly wrote about a couple of weeks ago, and begin to work together to sustain a vibrant community that spreads the mission of the church, some changes will be inevitable. Read more

Come Together Right Now

I freely admit that I am not the world’s biggest Beatles fan. However, over the last few months, the refrain from their song “Come Together” has been echoing in my mind. I like to imagine Jesus singing it over and over to us as we try to figure out how we can make pastoral planning bear lasting fruit. Read more

Why They Leave. Why They Come Back – Survey Series #12

Corresponds to Question 19 and 20 of the survey

Everyone’s faith journey is unique. But I have to confess that in one respect my own journey could not be more average: when I stopped practicing the Catholic faith it was the result of gradually drifting away. My parents took us Mass every Sunday, we dutifully “got our sacraments,” and we attended “Sunday school.” But as I entered young adulthood, none of that stopped me from walking out the door. What’s so “average” about this? Over 70 percent of those who leave the Catholic Church also “gradually drift away.” It is by far the number one reason why people leave.

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At the Heart of Worship – Survey Series #11

Corresponds to Question 27 and 28 of the survey.

Worship is often at the center of our conversation with family, friends, and co-workers when we discuss spiritual and religious practices. Sociological and psychological studies and recent polls indicate that most people accept the existence of God. However, difficulties arise when talking about ways to relate to God, experience God, know God, or follow God’s call. This is precisely where the topic of worship makes a grand entrance, and how it occupies center place in our musings.

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