The Road Map
“Come, follow me,” (Matthew 4:19): these three simple words altered the course of human history and the lives of every human person. Just as Jesus called the Apostles, He calls us to be disciples. Pope St. John Paul II said, “Life with Christ is a wonderful adventure.” Like all adventures, following after Jesus is a long journey filled with mountains and valleys, danger and wonder. This unpredictable road can seem daunting, as it leads us through moments of overwhelming joy and moments of fear. But this is what we were created for, and we want to walk together on this journey.
Through baptism, we’ve been given two huge missions: to become saints and to spread the Gospel. This is a daunting task and without help, we can get caught in a few pitfalls along the way. Some may not know where to begin, others may find their spiritual “comfort zone” and hesitate to try new things and continue growing, and still others aren’t sure how they can go deeper in their faith. Having a basic road map will ensure that we stay focused on our mission and that disciples are spiritually fed and challenged.
As Christ King and Saint Bernard parishes continue to reevaluate our fidelity to Christ’s call after a time of prayer and pause during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we want this to be our mission and our challenge: to provide the space to know and encounter the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Last summer, Fr. Phillip introduced a process of discipleship called The Roadmap. This map outlines four crucial activities in the life of a disciple: seek, connect, equip, and send. From here on out, we want to embody this mission in everything we do. Our parishes are committed to help you seek Christ, connect with His Church, and equip you for a life of mission and discipleship:
Q. The first step in the Road Map is Seek. Can you explain what that means?
A. Many have described the spiritual life as a journey. So, imagine you’re planning a road trip. Before you leave, you need to decide on a budget, transportation, and lodging. But first, you need to decide where you’re going. On our road map, “Seek” is the first step because it points you to your destination by giving you space to explore the Gospel, encounter Christ, and respond to His invitation.
Q. Are there specific “seek” events and who are these events for?
A. Yes, we do classify some events under seek, and anyone may join! Seek may be the first step in the road map but that doesn’t mean that it is exclusively for new Christians. Alpha/Alpha Youth is an example of a “Seek” event. The unique space, hospitality, atmosphere, and content of Alpha is designed so that anyone can walk in off the street and feel comfortable hearing the Gospel message and talking about faith – whether they are Christian or not. Even devout Catholics sometimes need to take a step back and be reminded of the simplicity of the Gospel message. Last year we had many dedicated parishioners go through Alpha who found it warm and familiar – like putting on your favorite cozy sweatshirt!
Q. What can people do to “Seek” in their daily lives and in the parish?
A. St. Augustine once described God as, “O Beauty ever ancient, ever new.” It’s a reminder that God always has something new for us to discover: there will never come a time when we’ve exhausted Scripture or when we know everything about God. So, we should be seeking out Jesus every day. We can do this by asking our tough questions, praying daily, and reading the Bible regularly. Scripture is a constant reminder that the Gospel message is good, joyful, and inspiring; and it’s a great way to hear the voice of God in my life. Another way we can seek Christ is to grab a friend or family member and sign up for Alpha. We promise that it will strengthen your relationship to one another and will help you see and hear God in new ways!
Q. Can you share an example of how “seeking” has been a part of someone's life?
A. When our youth minister, Sarah D. was in high school her youth minister personally invited her to join a parish leadership team. At the time, she wasn’t particularly devout, but it felt good to be recognized and personally invited, so she agreed. The team she joined quickly became a place where she felt belonging and where she could ask tough questions. That year she learned to read the Bible, to pray, and to listen. After a few months she decided to dive in and give everything to Jesus: she said yes to this crazy life of discipleship even though she had no idea where He would lead her. In the fifteen years since then, she's done a lot of wrestling with God with high highs and low lows, but she thanks God that she's always had the grace and perseverance to continue seeking Jesus.
Q. How can we help others seek Christ?
A. One of the most common questions heard is: how can I get my family to return to the Church? This is a painful question and one some of us have personally lived as well. Let’s say that you have an adult son who has stopped practicing the faith. Most likely, he won’t attend Mass with you and it would be too daunting to ask him to join the men’s group or go on a retreat. But, you could invite him to attend Alpha with you. It could sound something like this: “they have this new thing at Church called Alpha, it’s a group of people who have dinner together, watch a short video, and then talk about their beliefs. Apparently, they invite a diverse crowd of people with a spectrum of beliefs, so you won’t be singled out if you are unsure what you believe or have tough questions. Would you be willing to check it out with me? Maybe we could commit to going to the first two sessions and see if we want to continue after that.”
If you love working with young kids, consider volunteering in Children’s Ministry in CGS, or providing childcare during Alpha and other parish events.
If you’ve earned the title “hostess with the mostest,” use your hospitality skills to make people feel at home when they come to the parish.
Analytical and a strategic thinker? Consider participating in Human Concerns, Faith Formation, or Pastoral Council and help plan for the future.
If you have a gift for encouraging people, remembering their stories and names, you may love being a small group leader.
Outside of the parish, you can make an impact by serving the poor with St. Vincent de Paul, the Tosa Community Food Pantry, Habitat for Humanity and many other incredible community organizations.