Come join me for a day-long event this Saturday, November 8th! The day features Mass plus three main talks adapted from my award-winning book, Blessed, Beautiful, and Bodacious. I’m pleased to be joined by three dynamic women — Peggy Clores, Bridget McCormack, and Angela Rizzo — who will share the podium and with testimonials on the how the feminine genius shapes their dignity, gifts, and mission. Eileen Benthal will provide the music ministry.
I had some unexpected space free up in my weekend, courtesy of a change in a church calendar, and my husband being away on a business trip. So I asked the Lord — what should I do with my time?
I think I was one of the last ones to sign up for the Catholic Apologetics Academy being held in Massachusetts. I was fortunate that there was a seat available, because the meeting room at St William Church in Tewksbury was full of 100+ eager students from around MA, New England, and some folks coming even farther distances!
From Thursday night, to two full days on Friday and Saturday, and Mass and a morning program on Sunday, all three gentlemen offered talks to help us learn to defend the faith better, and to do it all with love and gentleness and reverence for Christ and the other. (See 1 Peter 3: 15.) And they did it all — from offering lectures, to taking questions and tackling thorny problems — without an ounce of ego between them. What very calm, yet strong teachers. I’m grateful for their service and commitment to passing on their knowledge and conversational tips and etiquette to the rest of us.
I think Patrick said it best when he offered: “This is not about winning arguments, it is about winning souls… authenticity must accompany our apologetics.” That could be a billboard for New Evangelization 101.
Finally, adding a touch of class and aural beauty to our experience, was the unexpected gift of Anna Maria Mendeita, a world-class harpist, who sat in on the weekend talks — and sat behind a harp she borrowed from a generous local person. Anna Maria played at Masses, and accompanied our meals and wine and cheese gatherings. Magnificent!
Some photos courtesies of Catholic Apologetics Academy website.
What is the missionary impulse?
This missionary impulse is implicit in our baptism. We Catholics are baptized into the Church. The blessing of our baptism is not only that it brings us into relationship with God, and into relationship with every member of the Church, but we are baptized into the mission of the Church.
What is that mission? Jesus made it plain.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you;
and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”
-Matthew 28: 19-20-
Our mission is to not only BE disciples ourselves, but to help MAKE disciples. The Gospel is not only an invitation, but also our marching orders: To be like Jesus by following him and imitating him. That’s the missionary impulse.
The emphasis is on “GO”. We’re talking verb, not noun. We must go out and do this. We build the church by discipleship.
The missionary impulse is the church on the move to reach others, even the ones we may not like. It is a measure of our success or failure.
This is a most challenging and provocative call. And Pope Francis’ vision, above, above requires a kind of courage and boldness to not only be about our faith life, our own spiritual needs, but about the needs and hopes others. It is a call way outside of a private way… As if it is just me and God. It is a call to be with, to do for, and to grow alongside in relationship with others.
Proclaim 2014 is a Catholic Missions Conference. Here’s the scoop from their press release.
Excitement is building for Family Missions Company’s 2nd annual Proclaim – Catholic Missions Conference. Join us for a powerful weekend, November 1-2, at the Ramada Conference Center in Lafayette, Louisiana. Come and be a part of the missionary impulse that will transform the world. This year Proclaim has something for everyone; individuals, families, youth leaders, and even whole parishes will be infused with new life and passion for the Gospel. Dynamic conference speakers include Bishop Sam Jacobs, Fr. Louis Merosne, Dr. Carole Brown, Michael Gormley, Frank and Genie Summers.
This conference will challenge you to deepen your faith, and leave you with a heart and conviction for evangelization. At Proclaim, hunger for Jesus becomes zeal for the Gospel. Inspired by Pope Francis’s exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel, Proclaim is uniquely committed to being a catalyst in the missionary transformation of the Church. Fuel your missionary zeal and be inspired to passionately live Gospel joy!
Eager to learn how to share the Gospel? This breakout session: Gospel Catholicism is for you! Learn the basics for sharing God’s word, and be transformed into a modern-day evangelizer.
Pope Francis calls us to “transform everything”. Is your church parish, ministry, or family, ready to embrace the missionary impulse? Learn how in this breakout session: The Church’s Missionary Transformation.
Feeling Called to greater commitment to Christ? Be inspired by full-time Catholic lay missionaries in the session The Challenge of Missionary Spirituality. Discover why the Gospel is the Good News that is worth giving everything for!
This year, Proclaim includes a Youth Leaders’ Track and Children’s Ministry and promises to be unlike any other conference you have ever attended! Beyond inspiring you to embrace God’s mission in your life, Proclaim will reach hearts and lives around the world! Every penny of profit from this conference will be used to advance the Gospel in Asia.
To learn more about Proclaim – Catholic Missions Conference, visit www.Proclaim2014.com or call 337-893-6111.
Family Missions Company is a Catholic ministry founded in 1996. This ministry is dedicated to spreading the gospel and serving the poor both here and globally. FMC trains and sends out families, as well as single men and women who have heard the call of Jesus to leave everything behind and follow Him. FMC relies totally on God’s providence through the generosity of others who support our ministry and works of charity. FMC’s home base is in Abbeville, LA. For more information, go to www.fmcmissions.com or www.facebook.com/fmcmissions.
You might also appreciate this video:
To be honest, I’ve never traveled to a foreign country to evangelize or be part of a mission trip. When I was growing up I was never encouraged to do that, but I do have a Catholic school memory of collecting funds and praying lots of prayers for the missions. When I was older, I didn’t travel much because of its expense. I took my first plane ride when I was 22.
In the years of working and raising a family, my husband and I tithed to support the mission of the church. Part of that support has always gone to those in need, and some of that support has gone to mission work in foreign countries. These days, many Catholic school encourage mission-mindedness among their students. I’ve been inspired by my children’s participation in mission endeavors and by the works of others.
We have financially supported the missionaries we know, whether they traveled for a short-term trip or for a long-term placement. That brings me back to Family Mission Company. Among Women listeners and readers of this blog may recall my conversations last year with Jonathan and Kristen Weiss, my friends who live the missionary lifestyle with their two boys.
Thanks to the internet, I have had the experience of having my written words and my recorded spoken words reach to foreign nations. About 20% or 10,000 of the last 50,000 downloaded Among Women podcasts have reached listeners in countries outside the USA. 3% of that number have reached into Canada, and the 17% remainder have reached listeners on other continents. So as one little catechist and a microphone, I’m learning the ways of online evangelization, one download at a time. Yet online evangelization never can replace face to face conversations. That is why we must meet people in person. That is how the church first came into existence and it is the way of evangelization still today. Someone shared the good news with me. I must, in turn to do the same.
Share this with your parishioners and friends. Share the video on Facebook and Twitter or whatever social media network you enjoy. Help us spread the word about Proclaim 2014.
The world is waiting.
Photos and video courtesy of Family Missions Company.
2014 brings a decision from SQPN to take a year off from hosting the conference and look toward 2015.
From SQPN’s press release:
The next Catholic New Media Conference will be held in the spring of 2015, ten years after Catholic podcasting took off around the events of the death of Saint John Paul II and the election of Pope Benedict XVI.
Since the first CNMC in 2008 in Atlanta, the Catholic New Media Conference has brought together Catholic communicators from all over the world to share experiences and exchange knowledge and insights on evangelization, catechesis and information using new media like blogging, podcasting and internet video.
With the rise of social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest, more and more people, parishes and religious organizations have discovered the possibilities of these new forms of communication. Podcasting technology, which enables people to listen to audio recordings on their computer or mobile devices and cellphones, has given many Catholics a voice and an opportunity to share their message with the world.
The next CNMC will pay special attention to the 10 year jubilee of this particular form of new media and explore the future possibilities of this medium for the church.
The CNMC is organized by the Catholic organization SQPN, the Star Quest Production Network.
If you or your church are looking to learn about digital media, or find ways to use it better while you wait for the 2015 CNMC, check out the Catholic Media Conference happening later this month, June 18-20 in Charlotte, NC, or see the Digital Church conference events for an event in your area.
As you may know, my podcast Among Women is an affiliate of SQPN. Thanks to the inspiration I received from their first 2008 Catholic New Media Conference and my longtime mega-media friend, Lisa Hendey, the podcast is five years young.
I’ve enjoyed working with the SQPN team over the years to help organize and work behind the scenes at the CNMC in 2010, 2011, and 2012. I had the privilege of speaking at their conference in Kansas City. A calendar conflict prevented me from attending in 2013, short of finding a few good friends in Boston after the fact.
We’ll see what 2015 brings! Pray for the new evangelization, and when you do, pray for the Holy Spirit to guide the church and these various media apostolates.
Prayer for the New Evangelization
Let me also share my Resources page at Among Women.
Make sure your local church bulletins have this information too — share it with your pastors, church leaders, as well as your social media circles.
“The Church needs to be concerned for, and present in, the world of communication, in order to dialogue with people today and to help them encounter Christ.”
- Pope Francis –
World Communications Day message, 2014
If evangelization is part of church’s identity, then spreading the message of the gospel is what we need to be about. I’m a fan of all Catholic media: radio, television, print, film, and internet and digital media. I’ve been very fortunate to work in media.
Finally, bookmark my Catholic Resources page at Among Women. You’ll find my recommendations for the best Catholic books, media, and more.
A few generations back, you can understand why many Catholics didn’t see the need to evangelize. They could live their faith in their homes and parishes, and when they walked outside — going to work, or school or the playground — the cultural temperature didn’t feel that much different than it felt inside. For all appearances the gap between the Catholic way of life and the American way of life didn’t look that great.
Today, however, when Catholics walk outside our homes and parishes into the culture at large, we feel the difference. It hits us in the face like a slap of ice-cold wind. The culture has turned toxic, and the gap between how the Church calls us to live and how the culture tells us to live has grown so wide, we can no longer bridge it.
But while we can’t bridge the gap, we can attempt to close it. That’s what the New Evangelization calls us to do. It calls us to transform not just individuals, but the entire culture, recognizing that just as the de-Christianization of culture led countless men and women away from the Church, so can the re-Christianization of culture lead en and women back to the Church.
That’s what we’re doing when we share our faith, through both our silent and spoken witness, with the people in our neighborhoods, and communities, schools, and workplaces. We’re transforming culture by introducing the individuals within it to a Person who will transform the very fabric of their lives. We’re welcoming them into a family of believers who will walk with them as they strive to live the life to which God calls them.
That’s something your parish priest can’t do. He can’t bear witness to the guy in your office who has never stepped foot in a Catholic Church. He can’t strike up a conversation at the gym or the coffee shop with the person who stopped going to Mass a decade ago. Your priest’s reach is limited… they can’t go where you can go.
Evangelizing Catholics, 2014
Lenten Almsgiving opportunity: support a Missions company with lay people and families in mission together
You may remember my friends, Jonathan and Kristen Weiss? They are full-time missionaries supporting married couples, families, and single lay persons in mission work in five countries with Family Missions Company. Different than a missions outreach supported by the work of Catholic religious orders, this apostolate offers lay persons a temporary or permanent mission outreach opportunities.
Here’s a fast recap of the past year at Family Missions Company.
You may also want to listen to the podcast I did with Jonathan and Kristen back during the Bloggers with a Mission campaign for World Missions Sunday.
photo courtesy of Jonathan Weiss.
Video courtesy of Family Missions Company.
I’m getting prepped and excited to travel to churches in Peoria IL, Duluth MN, and Halifax, Nova Scotia, to celebrate the dignity, gifts, and mission of women! I’ll explore the themes of my book with talks and discussions. Plus, we’ll hear from local women themselves sharing what it means to be blessed, beautiful, and bodacious… bodacious being most excellent and courageously undertaking the mission we woman have in the world. We’ll enjoy the company of other women, and the gift of faith as we take time to pray and reflect!
Mark your calendars and register! I hope I’ll be able to meet you at one of these venues.
March 7 & 8: Saint Jude Church, Peoria, IL
Details: Contact Kim.Thompson@stjudechurchpeoria.org
March 29: Queen of Peace Catholic Church, Duluth, MN
The second annual Authentic Catholic Women’s conference. Details here.
April 25-26: Saint Benedict Parish, Halifax, Nova Scotia, CA.
More details to follow…