When Prayers Go Up, Blessings Come Down

On July 24, 1990 the Black Clergy Caucus of the United States designated November as Black Catholic History Month. In November, we celebrate the long and storied history and heritage of Black Catholics. There is one Black Catholic in particular whom we pray will be declared a saint. Her name is Mother Mary Lange. Read more

Mission Matters: October 31, 2017

This week’s “Parish Table Talk”: Young Adult Evening Prayer w/Abp. Lori; Event for Prison Ministry Volunteers and Those Interested in the Ministry; March for Life 2018; Day of the Dead; Vespers for Families Who have Lost Children Through Miscarriage; Given; WYD in Panama; Sharing the Convocation 2017 Read more

Psalm Tones

One of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had since moving to Baltimore from Indiana has been chanting Morning Prayer with a group from St. John the Evangelist in Long Green Valley (Hydes). Last winter, Msgr. Richard Cramblitt shared with me that he had a group of parishioners who prayed Morning Prayer daily in the chapel. For Lent, they hoped to begin chanting the Office. I was intrigued. Read more

Mission Matters: October 17, 2017

This week’s “Parish Table Talk”: Vespers for Families Who have Lost Children Through Miscarriage; Rites for Pastoral Care of the Sick; Given; Young Adult Evening Prayer w/Abp. Lori; WYD in Panama; Sharing the Convocation 2017 Read more

Building a Culture of Life: It’s Essential to Who We Are

Five things you can (and should) do during Respect Life Month: Read more

Mission Matters: October 3, 2017

This week’s “Parish Table Talk”:  Share the Journey: Week of Prayer and Action; Respect Life Month; Given; Word on Fire Digital; Compassion Fatigued?; Sharing the Convocation 2017 Read more

Do What You Can With What You Have

Recently, I had the opportunity to join missionary leaders from across the country at the Missio Convocation hosted by the Pontifical Missions Society of America. These leaders came from a wide variety of backgrounds including Focus Missionaries, men and women religious, parish and diocesan leaders, many from Hispanic communities, as well as those who have served in long-term volunteer experiences around the world. We discussed the realities of today that seem to revolve around social media and technology raising awareness of issues across the globe, the art of busyness and being over committed, as well as the difficulties of simply making authentic friends. We listened to each other’s thoughts on how we can work within these parameters of life and bring the Joy of the Gospel to those around us. The struggles of parish life, church systems and structures, and personalities in leadership are very real and often get in the way of active participation from parishioners. Naming these realities brought focus to our conversation.

While a number of the participants had participated in oversees mission opportunities both long and short term, I have not had this experience and wondered where I stand in this mix of missionary action. Though I have worked with high school students rebuilding homes, fixing stairs, and cleaning yards, I never quite considered that ‘missionary’ work. I might have been on mission to get a job done but I would not consider myself a missionary.  However as I wrestled with this, the thought kept coming to me that being a missionary does not necessarily mean going to a poor far away country or a rough and tumble ghetto in another state. If that is true, then, what does it really mean to be a “missionary” and to live with a “missionary heart?”

As I reflect on situations and circumstances that God had placed before me I notice that quite often I may dip a toe into being missionary but my courage lacks conviction and I fail to go all the way. While I might offer a beggar on the street corner a bottle of water, I will not engage them in conversation or ask them their name even though I see them every day.

It was not until conversations at the Missio Convocation that I realized I was missing the mark in these everyday encounters with others. It brought to mind remarks that Bishop Brennan had once shared at a meeting about connecting with people in a practical missionary way. He reminded us to pray for them, fast once a week for them, offer up something that is a sacrifice or our personal suffering for them, and ask the Lord for a “desire and the courage to speak to them simply” about our personal journey of faith. “Speak to them simply” – this continues to sit on my heart as together we work as an Archdiocese to build Missionary Disciples. We do not have to have grand experiences in other countries or faith stories worthy of keynoting a large gathering. We are called to speak simply. We are called to use the experiences that God has offered to us as a way to connect others to Him.

As my time at the Mission Convocation came to an end, my small group of Lay Ecclesial Ministers from around the country concluded that we must equip ourselves in prayer to do what we can with what we have and share that with others joyfully. This simple but effective approach was embodied just days later by Sr. Margaret Ann from Miami-Dade county who got out her chain saw and started cutting up the debris blocking the street after Hurricane Irma came barreling through. She did not wait for emergency crews. She just grabbed that chain saw from the school where she is the principal and did with she could with what she had.

With a missionary heart, go and do what you can with what you have. That’s all the Holy Spirit needs to transform the world.

Mission Matters: September 19, 2017

This week’s “Parish Table Talk”:  World Youth Day 2019, Panama; Share the Journey; Bishop Barron at Facebook HQ; Sharing the Convocation 2017 Read more

Thirty Days to Great Abs

I once had the opportunity of meeting a professional physical trainer at a coffee and donuts gathering after Mass. Now, the irony of meeting a professional trainer at coffee and donuts was not lost on me. I did take the opportunity to ask him about his work, and I learned from him. Read more

Mission Matters: September 5, 2017

This week’s “Parish Table Talk”: Pope Francis’s Prayer for Parishes; WINE Conference;  Hurricane relief; Archbishop on DACA; Sharing the Convocation 2017 Read more

Mission Matters: August 29, 2017

This week’s “Parish Table Talk”: Rosary Congress Oct 7-13; Online registration for adult Confirmation; Faith in Focus; Convocation highlight. Read more

Mission Matters: August 22, 2017

This week’s “Parish Table Talk”: Pastoral Staff Day; GIVEN retreats; Heroic priesthood highlighted in WSJ; Encuentro Gathering; Convocation highlight. Read more