Have you ever been in discussions about the church where it feels as if God is presumed absent? That it's all up to us? Have you ever seen the Christian faith reduced to law, morality, or dogma - as if "try harder" or "be a nice person" or "just be more orthodox!" were all it really comes down to? This is the Pelagian influence - among the 'junk' that Fr Mallon insists has to go if we are to move forward as the Church on mission that Jesus founded. Have you ever perceived an unhealthy emphasis on the ordained ministry, as if the clergy and/or religious professionals were the only ones with any real calling or responsibility to evangelize and advance the Kingdom in meaningful and impactful ways? This is the clericalist influence - again: junk that has to go. In this episode, Fr Anthony and Fr Charles go in depth discussing the twin scourges of Pelagian moralism and clericalism, and - more importantly - how to neutralize these with authentic Gospel responses stemming from the Encounter with Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit.
We all know people who have left the church. This can be painful for those who believe and stay, especially when the ones leaving did not feel loved, fed, or welcomed in the church. In this episode, we discuss some pain points that thwart the saving mission of Jesus and cause grief within the Body. In order to move forward, a reckoning is needed...and an honest owning-up to our complicity in these failures. The goal is to repent, lament, and then move forward - as we strive anew towards fidelity to our true identity as the church of Jesus called to make disciples and reach the lost.
Wherever needed reform begins pushing back against entrenched mediocrity, leaders face the question: "By what authority?" Chapter Two of 'Divine Renovation' shows that the movement of parishes from maintenance to mission is NOT the personal agenda or ideological preference of one person or a group; it's a gospel and magisterial mandate. Fr Mallon presents the case from the past fifty years of Catholic teaching that the church is "missionary by her very nature' and cannot BUT evangelize if she is to be true to her Christ-appointed mission. In this episode, Fr Anthony and Fr Charles discuss styles of authority that can and cannot get the job done, and the long journey required to win trust and move hearts capable of creating disciple-making cultures at the parish level.
The identity crisis facing the church has left us confused and weak. The church is a movement, meant to go forth and bring the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ to all peoples. But instead, the church is often a tribe - closed in on itself, self-referential, even to the point of becoming "sick," according to Pope Francis. Are we fostering church cultures that maintain a status quo of complacent exclusivity, keeping Jesus all to ourselves? Or are we forming disciples and reaching the lost through clear and effective disciple-making processes? What is the path forward? Fr Anthony and Fr Charles dive deep into Chapter One of Fr Mallon's "Divine Renovation" to discuss these matters, using the text as a starting point for the conversations we need to be having if our local churches are to be faithful to the great commission and the gospel mandate to go forth and make disciples.
A few years ago, Canadian priest James Mallon wrote a book called "Divine Renovation: Bringing Your Parish From Maintenance to Mission." Fr Mallon is seeing good fruit at his parish as the principles of "The Joy of the Gospel" are actually being realized. In his book, he tells the story of what has worked at his parish and why. He shares what he has learned in a way that can be helpful for others who are trying help parishes form disciples and reach the lost. In this new series, Fr Anthony Co and Fr Charles summarize the content and then riff on the themes, as they try and figure out how for themselves how to bring their parishes from "maintenance to mission." First in a series.
Roy Petitfils is a Catholic psychotherapist specializing in work with teens. After a fatherless childhood of poverty, obesity and bullying (described poignantly in his TED talk), Roy experienced a hope-awakening college conversion which ultimately led to five years in seminary, almost a decade of teaching and youth ministry, and finally to professional counseling specializing in teens. Roy is a sought-after Catholic speaker well-known nationally in youth ministry circles. His podcast ‘Today’s Teenager’ is a must-listen, go-to resource for adults seeking to better understand, reach, and positively influence the teens in their lives. In this conversation, Roy takes us through his story from alienated teenager to one of the most insightful and wise voices of advocacy for youth in today’s church. Roy's term ’Empathic Evangelization’ describes his experience as both recipient and giver of the Good News of Jesus Christ.
ENDOW - Educating on the Nature and Dignity of Women - is a potent formation resource inspired by the vision that each woman encounters her infinite God-given value and dignity, untold talents and beauty, deserving of respect and of love. When I reached out to Katherine Meeks, West Coast director of ENDOW, I was looking for an articulate Catholic female voice to discuss the fruits of the program, Catholic feminism, and the contributions of “the feminine genius” that so enrich the world. Well, I got that, for sure. But as usual, my conversation took unexpected turns as Katherine opened up about her story. The tragic loss of her brother during high school provoked deep existential questions and gave the Christian proposal new significance. Her journey took her from the Chicago suburbs to college in Indiana to Los Angeles, with extended stops along the way doing non-profit public health work in Peru, South Africa, Cameroon, and an Indian reservation in New Mexico. She came to LA after landing a coveted job with humanitarian innovators TOMS shoes, and was eventually offered a dream job in public health development at UCLA - only to turn it down to work for ENDOW.
What is it like to be a full time doctor at a Nashville medical clinic serving mostly a poor and immigrant population...while also living the life of a fully professed religious Sister? How does a young high school teacher from New York find her way into religious life in Nashville, then through medical school and residency and now ten years into the healing vocation of a physician? I thought this would make for a great interview, and I was not mistaken. In this wide-ranging conversation, Sr Mary Diana talks about the joys and challenges of her medical work, how she found her religious calling, what it was like being in med school as a religious sister, belonging fully to God within a community of Dominican sisters, and how the answer to just about every question can somehow turn out to be..."God." Posted 5-13-17
Part two of my long conversation with Sarah, we dig in to her story. She talks about losing a friend to suicide in high school; a mission trip that gave rise to her first powerful God encounter; and the prayer in the Spirit that several friends prayed over her during grad school which triggered a major spiritual upgrade. She talks about about the benefits - and limitations - of clinical psychology in her ministry; her experience of intense apostolic communal living in urban Detroit; her ministry experience; TPM prayer ministry; Millennials (of course); being a spiritual daughter of Bill Johnson; and much more. I was in a good, happy, hopeful mood for a week after chatting with this godly, Spirit-filled woman. You will be, too. Posted 4-23-17
Sarah Kaczmarek is the national director for Alpha’s youth division. If you do not know about Alpha, it’s a series of sessions exploring the Christian faith centered on food, a talk, and meaningful conversation. It’s also one of the fastest growing and most effective evangelization tools out there today. Sarah served as a youth minister for eleven years before joining the Alpha team, first as their Catholic liaison and then as their youth director. She has an MA in counseling which has served her both in clinical and pastoral settings. She is working on another advanced degree in evangelization from Sacred Heart seminary in Detroit. In this, part one, Sarah goes in depth into the what, how and why of Alpha. It may be the best explanation and most compelling commercial for Alpha out there. Posted 4-16-17
Brian Pusateri's "Broken Door Ministries" began in the wake of a troubling medical diagnosis and a disruptive divine prompting on a silent retreat. Throw in an inspirational email to some Cursillo friends that grew into the 25,000+ global weekly readership "4th Day Letters" - and a traveling retreat that is facilitating major personal breakthroughs and inner healings - and there you have it... Brian's current life. Oh yeah...he also has MS and is a survivor of clerical sexual abuse. This wide-ranging conversation could perhaps be summed up as an extended unpacking of Pope Francis' "field hospital" metaphor for church. A profound, personal, provocative conversation on brokenness and belonging - and of course, Jesus. Posted 1-16-17
This is my second interview with JR Woodward. JR is an author, church planter, and disciple-making disciple who has been laboring to advance the Kingdom of God on both coasts for over two decades. He is one of the founders the V3 church planting movement, author of "Creating a Missional Culture" and now "The Church as Movement" (co-authored with Dan White). A disruptively innovative force in the missional church world, JR brings a gregarious, curious, and hungry spirit into every missional space he enters. In this wide-ranging conversation we talk about my beard, the Trump election, the recent Praxis Gathering, spaces of belonging, the clerical captivity of the church, why he let seven other people tell him how to live this current season of his life...and much much more. Posted 11-10-16
Dr Holly Peterson has her PhD in the pedagogy of educational visionary Fr Luigi Giussani. She is a consecrated member of 'Memores Domini' and a veteran teacher with over thirty years experience in the classroom. In this inspiring and provocative conversation, she speaks about respecting the student, reverencing the Mystery, and the risk that education poses for student and teacher alike. Posted 11/12/14
Fr Bob Lombardo is a Franciscan priest, retreat master, and missionary. He was one of the original eight Capuchin Friars of the Renewal (CFR's) in 1987. He has since gone on to found the Franciscans of the Eucharist in Chicago. Their founding mission in one of the nation's poorest neighborhoods assists the poor and shares the faith, fed by a spirit of prayer and Eucharistic devotion. Posted 8/15/14
Christ in the Cityis sharing the love of Christ with Denver's urban poor, while equipping and mobilizing young adult missionaries through an intense year of discipleship formation, community living, and charitable work. Yvonne Noggle, CIC's Regional Director, discusses her mission and the New Evangelization. Posted 5/25/14
C-U At Home is engaging and mobilizing the Champaign-Urbana community to house and support the most vulnerable homeless on their journey of healing and restoration. Melany Jackson, founder and executive director, discusses her Spirit-driven, Christ-centered work in front-lines compassion ministry and what moves her to serve. Posted 5/1/14
Camp Wojtlyais innovatively combining top-tier wilderness adventure camp with leading-edge Catholic youth evangelization. Annie Powell, the camp's visionary founder, discusses God, creation, and Christian leadership, walking us through CW's growth from a teenager's dream to foretaste of the new heavens and new earth. Posted 4/18/14
Evangelical Catholic is training disciple-forming disciples and building up the next generation of leaders in the Church. Jason Simon, the organization's executive director, speaks about his passion for the lost, his evangelical influences, and the tools and strategies necessary for a smarter, more effective church. Posted 4/3/14