Its an early Saturday December morning in Omaha, Nebraska. Families are likely doing one of two things: 1) ramping up to get to Lincoln to watch the Cornhuskers play some football, or 2) they are at the grocery store stockpiling for their at-home view of the game, planning to watch from the living room, their man-cave, or even their garage party.
Either way, the state of Nebraska is getting ready for some football. On that Saturday morning though, there happens to be some Churchy folk going down specific streets, Bibles in hand, offering the doors they visit a warm “hello” from their Pastor and an invitation to join in prayer or any number of activities available to gain a closer relationship with “the Lord.”
These aren’t Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons. They aren’t dressed in white shirt and tie, or 19th century clothes. They are dressed in husker jackets, jeans, and are armed with bulletins and directories. They aren’t offering conversions, or, perhaps they are offering reverisons though. They are Catholics.
(queue record stop sound effect) Catholics going door to door? Catholics don’t do that!
But some do. It’s the recently created group at St. Robert Bellarmine Parish of Omaha, NE. Inspired by the recent book by Sherry Weddell, “Forming Intentional Disciples”. The group, clever as could be, named themselves “Forming Intentional Disciples”. Novel, eh?
The group, at the direction and support of their Pastor, Fr. Steven Stillmunks, and under the leadership of Associate Pastor, Fr. Michael Voithofer, is going one Saturday per month to seek the existing members of their Parish. The intention is to go to their door and simply see how they are doing, invite them to a study group or other activity that fits their style, and ask them for prayers or any concern at all that we can bring back to the pastoral team.
Oops, I used the word “we” and totally blew my cover. The group wasn’t my idea. I happened to call my great friend Sean Stevens one mid-summer night and he told me I should show up to their first meeting. That was summer 2013. Its now December. These Catholics take some time to get the old engine oiled up, eh? Its a fabulous bunch.There are a number of people in the group but on our first day it was 6 going out. Sean Stevens is a self-employed shrink (I don’t know how he feels about that title) who is married to a wonderful woman. They are parents to a college-age boy, Michael. Beth Jareske is a mother of three, wife of one, and grandparent of several. She stays at home and helps build up her domestic Church day-by day. She is of the essence of life and happiness to me; indeed a special friend. Bill Beckman is the Archdiocese Director of Evangelism and Catechesis. This man, if you believe it, is the real Paul Bunyan. Though his hair flows with grace and some minor puff (he’s going to kill me) and he doesn’t have a beard, he appears to any as a 10 foot mammoth of a man, with a voice that ought to be used to preview movie trailers. He is a very merry man who knows his Church. Peter Matt, I know from the Parish golf league. A handy man with a passion for energizing others and bringing the gospel of life and forgiveness to all. He is a magnetic man with tough hands and a beautiful smile. Paul is a man’s man. He is always urging others to attend the very popular “That Man is You” men’s group at the Parish. He is a true champion for Christ in each way I can view him.
Does your parish have a group like this? Are you interested in starting a group like this of your own? First, pray about your mission. Second, pick up the book. Let God ignite your heard and then discern what You can do and make a plan. Then, execute. Contact me via this blog for any question, find me on Facebook or Twitter @shaunmcafee.