In August of 2014, Archbishop William E. Lori invited ChristLife to the Baltimore’s Archdiocesan offices for a Discovering Christ Training Conference with Archdiocesen leaders and representatives from many parish in the Archdiocese. Following the Training Conference, the Catholic Center ran Discovering Christ for their employees October-December, 2014.
What is true of me is true of my co-workers in the Catholic Center (where the Archdiocesan central services offices are located). Since coming to the Archdiocese I’ve met some very wonderful people at 320 Cathedral Street who work incredibly hard and with great dedication. But one of the things we all began to notice as time went by was this: in our meetings and discussions we don’t talk enough about the “core business,” and the “core business” of the Church is “the kerygma” – spreading the Good News of the Lord’s life, teaching, miracles, death, resurrection and exaltation, coupled with the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. We face that very human tendency to focus on the business and the planning at hand but not enough on the mission for which we were transacting the business and doing the planning.
The Senior Staff (department heads) of the Catholic Center decided to undertake the ChristLife program (which was developed locally and is now used in more than 50 parishes in the Archdiocese of Baltimore). No program, of course, is the be-all and end-all of evangelization, but we needed a proven vehicle to get and keep us focused on "what really matters right up to the day of Christ Jesus" (cf. Phil 1:9). We met for six weeks around my dining room table and talked about the faith not merely in theoretical and professional terms but rather about the impact of Christ and faith upon our personal lives. Next we offered the first phase of the three-part program, Discovering Christ, to the entire staff at the ￼￼Catholic Center. It was well attended and well received. We then offered further opportunities for prayer and reflection, including daily Eucharistic adoration across the street at a chapel in the undercroft of the Basilica. During Lent various members of the staff at the Catholic Center presented personal reflections or witness regarding their own life of faith and their own discipleship.
As a staff whose purpose is to support those who work “on the front lines” of evangelization in parishes, in schools, and in service to the poor and vulnerable, we are seeking to bring about what Pope Francis calls "missionary conversion." We are seeking to undergo, not only a change of thinking, but indeed a change in how we operate such that our daily work will clearly bear witness to Christ, and be and be seen as a response to Christ's missionary mandate.
Archbishop Lori has written an inspiring pastoral letter, which seeks to answer the question "What decisions need to be made so that we can marshal the resources the Lord has given us to do the work of the Gospel?" We encourage you to spend some time reflecting on Archbishop William Lori's words, as we each seek to grow in missionary discipleship at our parishes.