Month: February 2014

New Evangelizers in Action: Super-Writer Mike Aquilina

Book Cover NEY T36515One of the most popular aspects of my book The New Evangelization and You: Be Not Afraid were the many sidebars about New Evangelizers in Action, stories of everyday Catholics doing their best to know, live, and share their faith. The original plan was for an entire bonus chapter of New Evangelizers, but unfortunately the page count exceeded the plan for the printers.

So for the next few weeks, I’m going to share this great bonus content from The New Evangelization and You: Be Not Afraid. Enjoy!

New Evangelizers in Action: Super-Writer Mike Aquilina

mikeaquilinaDespite weekly speaking and radio appearances, hosting multiple series on EWTN television, and writing more than forty books and hundreds of articles about Catholicism, Mike Aquilina understands his primary vocation starts under his own roof.

“The most important apostolate I have is as husband and father,” says Mike.  “I am passionately in love with the woman I married twenty-seven years ago, and our love has given us six children. Four are still at home with us. We’ve always homeschooled.”

Even still, this parishioner from the Diocese of Pittsburgh continues to work on his own understanding of the Catholic faith.

“Making time for ongoing study,” is what Mike says is his biggest challenge in knowing the faith.  “The demands of the work are constantly urgent. Yet the pope keeps saying things that are very valuable. Theologians keep writing wonderful books. Had I but world enough and time!”

Mike also candidly shares the difficulties he encounters when sharing the faith, despite the opportunities he regularly has to do so.  “I’m an extreme introvert, extremely shy,” Mike explains.  “Yet my work demands a very high level of social interaction. God is good at getting us over ourselves.”

And identifying the ways God helps other people grow in their faith is one of the greatest benefits of the New Evangelization.  “I am constantly in awe of the fidelity of the people who go to Mass every day,” Mike says.  “They’re the folks who also fill the town with deeds of kindness every day. That’s how the world will be won. Charity radiates from the Mass. Charity converts the world.”

You can visit Mike’s blog and discover his books about Catholicism at www.MikeAquilina.com.

Talking to Teens About New Media

This morning I had the privilege of talking to a class of 8th graders in New Orleans about the differences between New Evangelization and New Media.

We used Google Hangouts, which I’ve used with just a few people at once, but this was the first time I used it to talk with a large group of people in a single location.  I’m very curious about other topics and ways of using this technology that would benefit others in using their own God-given skills to help others.

How do you use Google Hangouts? I’d be curious to hear of other ways you’ve used it in a training environment.

New Evangelizers in Action: Online Evangelizer Bryan Murdaugh

Book Cover NEY T36515One of the most popular aspects of my book The New Evangelization and You: Be Not Afraid were the many sidebars about New Evangelizers in Action, stories of everyday Catholics doing their best to know, live, and share their faith. The original plan was for an entire bonus chapter of New Evangelizers, but unfortunately the page count exceeded the plan for the printers.

So for the next few weeks, I’m going to share this great bonus content from The New Evangelization and You: Be Not Afraid. Enjoy!

New Evangelizers in Action: Online Evangelizer Bryan Murdaugh

BryanMurdaugh“I want to be more involved at every level of Evangelization within (and even beyond) my sphere,” says Bryan Murdaugh, a 33-year-old lifelong Catholic from the Diocese of Charleston.  “I want my children to understand the importance of evangelization, and I’m excited to see new faces come forward at a local level to realize that they’re living a faith of radical love.”

This determination is not something new to Bryan.  He’s been involved in youth ministry at the Parish and Diocesan level for 11 years, as well as involved in a youth evangelization apostolate called 5thousand for the last four years.  Additionally, he is a small business owner, creating websites, mobile apps, and graphic and video design services.

“While our business caters to more than Catholics, evangelization remains at the core of our business,” Bryan says.  “We serve many important apostolates engaged in spreading the Gospel, and even support some diocesan offices, including the Office of Vocations for the Diocese of Charleston and I also volunteer as a youth advisor in my Parish, Our Lady of the Hills, in Columbia, SC.”

Like others, though Bryan puts great focus on the New Evangelization in his life, taking steps to know, live, and share the faith still take ongoing effort.

“I think the biggest challenges in knowing the faith come from being bombarded with almost as much misconception about the faith as I was taught the truth about the faith,” Bryan explains.  “Growing up amid people who held false beliefs about Catholics and not being armed with the right tools to combat that as an adolescent put me a little behind the curve.”

Like many who grew up in the 70s and 80’s and other generations, Bryan has discovered that despite a lack of catechesis, God can use those moments of weakness to strengthen a person’s faith.  “It’s also possible, however, that this disadvantage gave me enough thirst to learn – which keeps me going today,” Bryan says.  “I do feel like I started later than I would have liked to, though.”

When asked about roadblocks in the New Evangelization, Bryan points to a common malady that many encounter: Time.

“It’s too easy to be busy,” Bryan says.  “When we’re busy, we neglect prayer. When we neglect our prayer life, we miss out on occasions of grace and we forget to lean on Jesus Christ in everything we do.”

But time is not the only challenge facing Catholics today.

“I think fear is big too,” says Bryan.  “I think the laity-at-large is very concerned that if they get involved with the Church, they’re going to have them out of their comfort zones in silly or even dangerous situations. I feel like the “comfort zone” is too safe for sure, but I think people need to realize that we are a church of reason AND faith, and that there’s no reason to be afraid to step forward.”

You can visit Bryan’s website at fivable.com.

Amazing T-Shirt Dude

Dan Gonzalez is the brainiac behind the New Evangelizers logo for the apostolate my wife and I started and Jennifer still runs.  He helped design the current look and feel of Rosary Army, That Catholic Show, The Catholics Next Door and all the other ministries operating out of our basement.

Mass-exp01

He’s amazing.  I’ve offered him a job, but he doesn’t want to leave Miami.  Can’t really blame him.

He recently developed and launched an amazing iPad app called Mass Explained.  It’s one of the most gorgeous apps I’ve ever seen.

Again, I offered him a job for a reason.

We met Dan in person a few years ago when my wife and I were speaking at the Eucharistic Congress in Atlanta (I’ll be speaking there again in June, by the way).  Dan had a booth next to ours for his Agnus Gift Shop t-shirt company.

Now, you’ve got to understand something about t-shirts at the Eucharistic Congress.

The first year we went to the Congress was in 2003 and we had our own booth for our Rosary Army apostolate.  Despite being a relatively new ministry, we sold Rosary Army t-shirts (and people loved them).  In subsequent years, as the Congress swelled to 30,000 attendees annually, we sold shirts in different colors but with the same design, and each year people bought them.

But over time, more and more t-shirt companies popped up in the exhibitor’s area until the market was over-saturated and we quit selling our shirts.   Even worse, all the Catholic shirts looked the same.

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Tommy wearing his new LEGO pope shirt back in 2009

Tommy and Ben wearing their new LEGO pope shirts back in 2009

And then we met Dan in 2009 and were blown away by his creativity and the incredible designs of his shirts that he created all by himself.  His booth was providentially located right next to the Rosary Army table and he generously gave all of our kids shirts with a LEGO Pope image he created.   They absolutely loved them and in the past 5 years have pretty much worn them out.

Again…did I mention I keep offering the guy a job?

Well, again, this was 2009 when he gave us those shirts, and one kid in our family was barely out of the womb.

So imagine our surprise when last week a box showed up at our door and it was packed to the rim not only with new LEGO Pope shirts for the boys who have considerably grown over the years, but it also had shirts with Dan’s brand new design based on the coat of arms of Pope Francis.

Lily sporting her brand new shirt

Lily sporting her brand new shirt

And on top of that, the newest edition to our family also got a surprise and several new Catholic t-shirts of her very own, including her own LEGO Pope t-shirt with room still left to grow.

So major thanks to Dan for his enormous generosity.  And if you are a retailer or looking for a cool fundraiser for your youth group, make sure to check out Dan’s fundraising kit where you can get a bunch of the shirts and sell them to support your Church group.  It’s a great opportunity and better than a bake sale.

And seriously, Dan, want to come work for me? 🙂

 

 

 

 

New Painting Initiated

I know what this is going to be, but I’m not going to tell you just yet.

Can you guess what this is going to be?  Post your answer in the comments below and I’ll send something cool to the first person to guess correctly before I upload the next updated picture.  Better hurry.  I’m making progress…

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New Evangelizers in Action: CatholicMom.com’s Lisa Hendey

Book Cover NEY T36515One of the most popular aspects of my book The New Evangelization and You: Be Not Afraid were the many sidebars about New Evangelizers in Action, stories of everyday Catholics doing their best to know, live, and share their faith. The original plan was for an entire bonus chapter of New Evangelizers, but unfortunately the page count exceeded the plan for the printers.

So for the next few weeks, I’m going to share this great bonus content from The New Evangelization and You: Be Not Afraid. Enjoy!

New Evangelizers in Action: CatholicMom.com‘s Lisa Hendey

LisaHendey“I love sharing my faith,” says Lisa Hendey. “My biggest challenge is doing so in a way that respects those with differing perspectives.”
One way Lisa does this is through online evangelization.

In 2000 Lisa founded www.CatholicMom.com as a direct response to Pope John Paul II’s invitation to be a part of the New Evangelization.

“Over the years, the site has made use of emerging technology to share the good news of the gospel,” Lisa explains. “From a static website to blog format, from podcasting to the use of social media, I’ve attempted to connect with Catholics and others who are interested in learning more about the faith.”

Her efforts have not only had a positive impact on the regular visitors to Lisa’s website, but have provided Lisa with opportunities to serve the Church in unexpected ways including attendance at the Vatican Bloggers Meeting in 2011, as well as participation in both the 2012 USCCB Bishops and Bloggers Meeting and the Catholic Press Association press tour of Israel as a guest of the Israeli Ministry of Tourism.

“I was able to share these experiences broadly thanks to social media tools,” Lisa says.

In addition to worldwide ministry online and in print, Lisa also seeks to serve her local parish community through her position as parish webmaster at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in the Diocese of Fresno as well as participation in other initiatives within her diocese.
Despite heavy involvement in the Church, the continued need to develop greater knowledge of Catholicism is ever present.

“As a “cradle Catholic” catechized in the early years after Vatican II, my faith education in school did not really involve mastery of the Catechism, Church documents or even much history of the Church,” says Lisa. “As an adult, I find myself sometimes playing ‘catch up’ on official Church teachings. I have never doubted my faith in any way, but I do often find deficits in my knowledge of Church teachings. Blessedly with the help of the Internet, it is increasingly more simple to learn these precepts.”

The opportunity to keep learning is one of Lisa’s biggest goals in the New Evangelization. “I hope to grow in my own faith — in my knowledge of the precepts of the Church, her history, and the truth we find in the Catechism and profess in the Creed,” Lisa says. “I also hope to do a better job within my Domestic Church of being a spiritual light for my family. I hope to provide as many resources as possible for our CatholicMom.com readers to help them to know, love and share the faith in their homes and communities.”

In addition to running CatholicMom.com, Lisa is also the author of A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms: 52 Companions for Your Heart, Mind, Body, and Soul and The Handbook for Catholic Moms: Nurturing Your Heart, Mind, Body, and Soul (both published by Ave Maria Press).

TCND #035: Snow Day

TCND_035Presenting Our Children to the Lord, Snow Day with the Kids, Getting Fit through Fasting, and Introversion/Extroversion. VOICEMAIL: 888-299-8686 or send MP3 to willits@rosaryarmy.com.

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