INTO LIFE: Love Changes Everything

In a newsletter I read regularly, I saw this new course produced by the Sisters of Life and the McGrath Institute for Church Life that I have to share with you. It’s called “Into Life: Love Changes Everything” and it’s free! We’re in a strange place as we wait for the official decision from SCOTUS on Mississippi vs. Dobbs. The beginning of a new way of operating in the pro-life movement, or really a new starting point to walk with women experiencing a crisis pregnancy.

Celebrating John the Baptist

I’ve been working with parishes over the past year to create plans and many of them include “Helping families embrace Liturgical Living to build up the Domestic Church.” One of the members of our team asked, “What does that mean? Concretely what would that look like?” I was reminded of something I read on Catholic All Year awhile ago that I’d like to share with you this week. This would be a great event to share with families to do at home. It would also be a great parish event to kick off the summer.

The Time Is Now

I met with a parish council today to talk about our Parish Vision Plan solution, and I couldn’t help but think they’re so much like most of the parishes I work with. The answer to what they were asking, and what so many ask, is simply: Time, Action, and Relationships.

Pete, the Basement, & Young Adults

I’ve been taking my time listening to the newly released OSV Talks and found one from 2020 that I hadn’t listened to yet. I met Pete Burak years ago when I attended a conference of Millennials and the Church. He is the director of id, the young adult outreach of Renewal Ministries. As I watched his OSV Talk, I was remembering all of the young adult events I’ve attended in the Church basement with bad food that seemed like an after thought for the parish. I even ran a young adult ministry that did all the wrong things, trying to aim for a target I more often than not missed.

What I Learned by Listening

Sometime in November we were given a letter from our Bishop about the upcoming Synod, alerting us that our parish was going to be asking us to participate in the spring. Then in the middle of February there was a bulletin announcement about it, which I walked up to my pastor after Mass pointing to saying, “What are we doing about this? I’d like to help – this is kinda what I do for work.” He assured me there was a plan and a man named Tom was going to talk about it in a couple of weeks asking for volunteers. He said to volunteer when the time came, he’d love to have me participate.

As if for the First Time

This morning I walked into my office and noticed that my crepe myrtle tree has buds on it. They weren’t there yesterday, and today I’m amazed at how the Lord has designed spring to be. Over the past year, I planted so many flowers and trees in my new yard, and now it’s like I’m experiencing spring for the first time. I see the redbud trees everywhere (including my back yard) and, as my best friend always says, “they’re the best reminder of spring and beauty – they show up in the most unexpected places where it’s dark and dead looking in the forest, then their purple flowers come out and shout SPRING IS HERE!”

Family-Friendly

I recently saw this article by Laura Kelly Fanucci and thought you should read it too. She asks “Is Your Parish Family-Friendly?” I try to have parishes ask this question when creating their Parish Vision Plans, but as someone without children, I’m realizing I haven’t asked enough questions.

Our Story

I don’t normally get my “great spiritual insights” from websites like The Onion, but I saw this article and it made me think about something. Last month I wrote about the 8th commandment and my reflection on what it means to “Bear True Witness.” Then I saw this satire about how “more than half the population live their entire lives without adding to the story in a meaningful way.” I got to thinking about the story of our parishes in the world.

The Margins

What is your parish doing for the person on the margins? That’s today’s question to reflect on. I was having a conversation with a friend about the upcoming synod and the preparation the Holy Father has asked each Diocese and in turn parish to do. Listen to those on the margins. I’m not sure everyone is seeking these people out though because we have a hard time seeing them. So let’s start with: Who do I mean when I say “people on the margins”?

A Parish-Wide Lenten Calendar

Can you believe Lent begins in less than a month? It’s our 3rd Lent in a Global Pandemic (may it be our last!), so I thought we could use a new idea for what to do as a parish. (Full Disclosure, this is actually an old idea a friend used to do at his parish when he was the pastor years ago.)