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Fly Fishing And Forming Disciples

As I shared in a recent post, a few months ago I received an invitation from the Catherine of Siena Institute (http://www.siena.org) in Colorado Spring to attend an advanced seminar on “Forming Intentional Disciples In Parishes.” The seminar was only open to 50 people nationwide and I suspect that I received the invitation since St. Monica had held one “Called and Gifted – Part 1” seminar as well as two “Called and Gifted – Part 2​,” both sponsored by the Institute.

We have been looking around the country at growing, vibrant parishes who demonstrate “best practices” in fulfilling the “Great Commandment” of Jesus (http://biblehub.com/mark/12-30.htm) in their approach to helping people grow in their relation with Christ and each other. The parishes all seem to invest a lot of energy in helping to grow the faith of their parishioners (For one example, see: http://nativitypastor.tv/?p=2255 ). I am convinced that we must do the same if St. Monica is to not only survive (boring!) but THRIVE! Hence my decision to fly out to Colorado Springs to attend the seminar. 

Along the way, I thought I could offer some reflections on what I learn, as well as offer some personal vignettes from my trip out west. Since my brother lives in Missoula, Montana, I decided I might as well see how the cutthroat trout are biting. 

Thus over the next few days, I’ll offer a bit of a travel log to keep people informed  who might ask, “What exactly do you priests DO all day?” 
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Ok, why would anyone want to read this thing anyway? Tom Shakely (https://tomshakely.com) is a the talented young guy. He was a student at Archbishop Wood High School when I taught there and we connected a few years later.  He’s a bit of a guru when it comes to social media especially in terms of strategies, trends and use. He was the one who set up and integrated my various social media and helped me to develop a strategy with them. 

We had an early conversation about the whole social media thing once while I was setting up my platform.  He kept saying that I needed to set up these various social media accounts and be posting all of the time. The entire thing seemed totally self centered and narcissistic to me. He replied, “Father – we’re Millennials. My entire generation is self centered and narcissistic.” But he also said that not only are people interested in telling other people about themselves, they’re interested in what other people are doing as well. “And what a priest does on a day-to-day basis is fascinating. You guys are unusual and thus a bit mysterious. People are interested in what you do.”

Still seems a bit much to me but, Ok. If parishioners and other people are interested, we’ll post away. 

Besides the self-focused part of it, another aspect that bothers me is that I already live in a “fish bowl.” People are always inquiring, asking, looking into what “Father” is doing, eating, saying, etc….   If I’m in a restaurant with family or friends and wearing my collar, I catch the glances from people at the tables around me – nodding in my direction, (“Look dear, there’s a priest.”), craning their neck to see what food I ordered. The looks and whispers get especially interesting if I’m eating alone with a woman. 

Hence the hersitancy to put myself and my life further on display. It’s the reason I filter information I send out. Check out my Facebook page. Not a lot of personal information there. Nevertheless, I also believe that the interaction and relationship between priests (religious as well) and the laity has changed. We’re not sure on how to interact with each other sometimes.  For the most part, I feel that priests are still respected by the majority of the Catholic faithful although we’re certainly no longer on the pedestal as in past ages.  But how do we interact with each other? What are good and necessary interactions? What are the healthy boundaries? What topics are ok and which are tabo? 

Perhaps this starts a conversation on the topic,  

… provided anybody actually reads this ….

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