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How to Eat an Elephant: An Introduction to the Be Missionary Disciples Review and Reflection Process – Survey Series #1

Corresponds to questions 3, 4, 5, 9, and 10 of the survey.

When a task’s so daunting I don’t know how to tackle it, I remember the riddle:

Q. “How do you eat an elephant?”

A. “One bite at a time.”

When trying to tackle the Be Missionary Disciples parish survey results, recently received by pastors and pastoral leaders, this riddle comes to mind for three reasons: Read more

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner- Survey Series #2

Corresponds to questions 9, 10, 11, and 12 of the survey

In the classic 1967 movie, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, a liberal couple’s values are challenged when their daughter comes home with her African-American fiance. It’s true, this wouldn’t shock us today. In fact, we couldn’t be more grateful for the great gift of diversity we have in our Church. However, we have to admit that even today not everyone feels welcome in every parish. Read more

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The Ants Go Marching: Children’s Faith Formation – Survey Series #3

Corresponds to questions 13 and 28 of the survey

My niece is fascinated with all furry, feathered, or crawling creatures. When I visited last week, ants were the new obsession. Lucky for her, someone had spilled some snacks on the driveway. Lucky for me, certain topics stay in our heads long after we’ve left the office, so the ant-watching turned into a parish reflection. Read more

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Coming to Church But Not Spiritually Fed? – Survey Series #6

Corresponds to Questions 19, 27, 28, 31, 32, and 33 of the survey.

I really enjoy sushi.  It is beautiful food art that is at once pleasing to the eye and the palette and never fails to improve my mood.  I wasn’t always a sushi convert as the idea of eating raw fish and seaweed wasn’t really appealing at first.  But wise sushi connoisseurs introduced me slowly to the wonders of the sushi experience, beginning with simple, familiar flavors like cucumber and avocado, advancing slowly to the fully cooked California roll, adding in miso soup and wasabi when appropriate, waiting to introduce the raw fishes (salmon, tuna, yellowtail, …) and exotic sea creatures (octopus, sea urchin, abalone, …) until much later.   Read more

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We Believe in One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church: Why Every Head Needs a Body – Survey Series #7

Corresponds to Question 27 of the survey.

We just returned from our annual visit to see my wife’s family in Spain. As she does every year, my mother-in-law brought the whole family together for lunch. (By “lunch,” I mean a feast lasting an entire Sunday afternoon.) Everyone had already visited with us individually; but make no mistake: they were all obliged to attend. Read more

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12 Ways to Be the “Hostess with the Mostess” – Survey Series #8

Corresponds to Question 42 of the survey.

Recently, my brother and his family came for an overnight visit that, even though it was short, inevitably brought out my latent desire to be the “hostess with the mostess.” So, just before they arrived, I found myself stocking the bathrooms with clean towels and plenty of toilet paper, as well as randomly touching up paint where someone’s shoe had left a huge scuff mark, and frantically changing out the gross shower curtain liner for a new one. Read more

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Ask the Master of the Harvest: Evangelizing for Vocations – Survey Series #9

Corresponds to Question 34 of the survey.

When I was considering what to do with my life as a young adult I had various ideas, some more grounded than others. I wanted to make it big as a rock drummer but my ambition exceeded my chops. (I also had trouble doing fancy stick twirls.). I also had hopes of making big bucks in the business world or in a prestigious career in law. It was in the midst of this search that I began to see that my life was missing something. The options laid out for me just didn’t seem to be fulfilling or meaningful. Sure, such options provided a comfortable income (okay, maybe not the rock drummer option), but would I be happy – truly happy – doing any of these? I began to realize that life meant more than that, that I wanted to do something greater with my life: I wanted to live for someone other than myself. Read more

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A Reflection on Stewardship and Financial Perception- Survey Series #10

Corresponds to Question 37 – 41 of the survey.

The financial health and vitality of your parish is in your hands.

I spent 25 years in the investment business. The thought that I’d one day be sitting here as the CFO of the Archdiocese never entered my head. I also never imagined that despite my previous career success, it would be this job that would demand more of my MBA than any other. “God put me in this job to teach me patience and humility.” That’s what I tell everyone.  There were only two finance guys in Jesus’ life: Matthew was a tax collector and Judas held the purse for the apostles. Patience and humility… Read more

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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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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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