We are familiar with the hymn All Are Welcome which many of us sing regularly in our parishes. As followers of Christ, our mission is to proclaim the Gospel to ALL people and truly ensure that All Are Welcome. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that nearly one in five Americans – over fifty-five million – has a disability. Thus, disability is in fact the norm for many Americans. Read more
A “gap year” between high school and college is supposed to be a time to “find oneself” and mark the important transition from young person to young adult. Unfortunately, as a Church, we have created our own “divide.” There is little to nothing present for young adults once they get past high school. This is the post-high school (even post Confirmation) gap that exists until marriage. It’s killing the Church. So, how did we get here? Read more
In February 2011, after many years of working in the criminal justice system and still many more at an outreach center in Baltimore, I accepted the position of Director of Prison Ministry for the Archdiocese of Baltimore. It was a position that I knew would eventually consume much of my time in the area of people returning home from prison: the returning citizens. Read more
God beckons us out of doors in the summer. Without using words He speaks to us of the goodness and wonder of His of creation, teaming with life. At our house, lilies are in bloom, expectant hummingbirds hover patiently nearby for the daily refill of the feeder, and a fox cools himself deep in the shade of thick bamboo. Then the best part – family members drop by for an impromptu dip in the pool. Good for them to enjoy the water! I’ll sip a cold drink and watch serenely from a chair in the shade. I have a slight aversion to putting on a bathing suit. Then I recall an article on that topic which encourages me to come out of my shell and into a suit to join in the fun. Summer’s gift is time for reflection, recharging and renewal of spirits. And appreciating the goodness of all of God’s creation, including our bodies.
How can we educate parishioners, young and old alike, on the goodness of all of God’s creation, especially the human body?
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton reflected on a moment of leisure:
“I set off into the woods and soon found an outlet in a meadow; and a chestnut tree with rich moss underneath and a warm sun overhead. Here, then, was a sweet bed. The air still, a clear blue vault above – the numberless sounds of spring melody and joy filled the air – and my heart was made to be as innocent as a human heart could be, filled with an enthusiastic love to God and admiration of His works . . . God was my father, my all. I prayed, sang hymns, cried, laughed, and talked to myself about how far He could place me above my sorrow. Then I laid still to enjoy the heavenly peace that came over my soul; and I am sure, in the two hours so enjoyed, grew ten years in the spiritual life. . .”
I always enjoy reading something from Michael White’s perspective. Here is his take on people pleasing -a trap we all fall into- versus leadership. Enjoy! Be challenged!
People Pleasing vs. Leadership
By Michael White
I knew an enthusiastic pastor who came to a church that was brimming with potential. He had terrific ideas and couldn’t wait to get going. Fast-forward five years, he’s no longer there and all that potential remains untapped.
Ever wonder how your leadership potential gets crushed? It happens easily and more often than you might suppose. It happens in churchworld all the time.
Why? Because we pastors and church leaders are desperately afraid of rejection. In fact, we actually want to please everyone (as if such a goal were ever even possible).
Too often, as lay ecclesial ministers, priests, and deacons, we complain that engaged couples require a great deal of time and energy from the parish but, in the end, many couples simply use the Church for their wedding after which they are never to be seen at the parish again. Conversely, engaged couples complain about all the “hoops” that they are required to jump through in order to get married in the Church.
Both perspectives hold some truth. Read more
The New Evangelization challenges us to rethink what it means to be missionaries. Yes, ad gentes! To be disciples to all the nations is still a priority but, what about those who sit next to us in the pews or those who aren’t even there in the pews yet? We know there are many of our brothers and sisters who are baptized Catholic, but are not actively engaged in their faith. This is one level of evangelization. And a large one at that! Overwhelming, even.
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.
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.
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