As I look over my shoulder, I see there was more unity in the decisions I made and the directions I took than I knew at the time I was making those decisions and taking those directions.
I was always interested in how individual and communal faith was a resource for engaging the situations in which we find ourselves. How did it illumine the mind, inspire the will, gladden the heart, and galvanize actions?
Over the years, I had ministerial, academic, and organizational positions where I could pursue this interest. I often worked with higher-level ecclesiastics and academics.
But my heart was always in the grassroots. How did people in parishes and workers in organizations bring their faith into what they were experiencing and doing? How did their spiritual identity inform their physical, psychological, and social conditions?
I co-founded and directed for 20 years a Doctor of Ministry Program that specialized in how to do grassroots theological reflection. Participants came mostly from parish ministries, but also from hospital and prison ministries. With the help of community organizers, organizational development specialists, sociologists, psychologists, scripture scholars, and theologians, we engaged the problems and possibilities of parishes. I developed products and services to meet those challenges and turn them into opportunities for growth.
For ten years, I was the Executive Director for Design and Implementation at the Ministry Leadership Center (MLC). MLC created formation programming for senior executives of five Catholic Health Care systems. I resourced and facilitated over a 1000 leaders as they learned to articulate and integrate the tradition of Catholic Health Care into the mission and work of their organizations. I also worked with non-Catholic faith-based organizations in health care and social services. I developed products and services that combined the theory and practice of bringing faith and spirituality into organizational life.
So, somewhat to my surprise, there has been a consistent motivation and concern throughout my work. I am still doing today what I started doing at the beginning—helping people bring their faith and spirituality into their life situations. Along the way, I’ve learned a lot.
If you are in a parish or faith-based organization and the rotating quotations and the list of services reflects your interests, let’s talk.