From Maintenance to Mission at St Anthony's

My name is Michael Gormley and I'm the new Adult Faith Formation Coordinator at our parish, which is funny because I used to be a teen in the Life Teen program, as well as Barbara Beale's full time youth ministry assistant back in 2005 to 2008. My life after college has been spent as a professional Christian. I've been a youth minister at 3 different parishes in Texas and have never thought about working in a non-Church job.

But the more I work and eat and sleep Church work, the more I can get divorced from the world around me. In our comfortable suburb of The Woodlands, 12% are Catholic, but 51% are self-labeled as noneunaffiliated, or just non-practing. But you would not know that if you hung out in my circles! You would think everyone is Catholic.

The longer you are a Christian, the less non-Christian, non-Church friends you end up having. This is dangerous because you can get too comfortable. One nasty result of being cliquish church people is this tendency to start defining people as "us" or "them". It becomes easy to label people, to write them off, or to reject them if they do not fit into this or that category.

This is why evangelization and mission is so crucial to the life of the church. And by "church" I don't just mean the universal Church, but also our quaint little parish of 5,300 families. Missions revitalize us. Evangelization keeps us connected to the people and the larger world around us.

My obsession for the past 4 years has been to foster the new evangelization. I started a website called www.layevangelist.com in order to do just that. I was hired into this Adult Faith Formation role to bring this obsession where it belongs: the local parish.

Part of building a parish in love with Jesus, a parish filled with disciples, is to make sure the infrastructure is oriented towards evangelization and mission. No disconnected, negative, cliquish church people allowed in such a parish. it's just too uncomfortable. It's just too demanding. It's just too... missionary for those who are living their faith in maintenance mode.

GlobalRM is one important piece in the overall infrastructure. We want people to be missionaries in their homes, on the job, and in our cities. Sometimes it takes traveling thousands of miles to remember that missionary call, and it is our hope that the love, humility and excitement you discover when you attend one of our short-term GlobalRM trips is brought home and the fire spreads into all corners of your life.

What is GlobalRM about? Loving our neighbor in need to the ends of the earth. Simple as that. We love them through our medical mission, our sacramental service, and our catechetical work. We heal, celebrate and disciple.