Missionary Discipleship

FOCUS alumni carry  discipleship into everyday life

FOCUS alumni carry discipleship into everyday life

Missionary Discipleship, October 2021
By Becca Thiry What happens when a FOCUS missionary, who has spent intense time walking with college students, returns home and settles into normal life? A beautiful rhythm of inviting people into their lives and the life of the Church blossoms into that thing we keep referring to as “missionary discipleship.” And an invitation to follow Christ is offered to everyone they encounter. Mission forms roots FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) is a global ministry that has taken college Catholic Newman Centers by storm over the last 20 years. With over 800 missionaries in 180 college campuses, FOCUS is growing rapidly and making a huge impact on not just the United States but the world. Among those 180 locations, four universities in South Dakota benefit from missionaries serving on…
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Turn life’s everyday moments into opportunities to evangelize

Turn life’s everyday moments into opportunities to evangelize

Missionary Discipleship, September 2021
By Laura Melius When we consider the great evangelists through history, who comes to mind? Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? St. Paul? Or a more recent example, such as Archbishop Fulton Sheen? What if we looked closer, much closer, to within ourselves? As baptized Christians, we are all called to carry out this important work. For God to use us as evangelists, we do not need to be effective public speakers or prolific writers or have an abundant number of followers. We just need to recognize and answer his call to share the life-changing message that Jesus Christ is Lord and God. Getting started Where do we start on this task of evangelizing? How can we best share Jesus with those we encounter each day? The best place to start,…
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God’s unconditional love is the foundation of discipleship

God’s unconditional love is the foundation of discipleship

August 2021, Missionary Discipleship
By Laurie Stiegelmeier By now many of us know Bishop DeGrood’s vision for the Diocese of Sioux Falls by heart: Lifelong Catholic Missionary Discipleship Through God’s Love. Each word in this statement carries great meaning but “through God’s love” is both the foundation and the capstone of the entire message. The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines foundation as a basis upon which something stands or is supported, an underlying base, or a body or ground upon which something is built up or overlaid. Traditionally, a capstone was placed at the top of a pyramid or building to signify completion and to protect the walls below. Capstones were often considered the most important part of the building; they were elaborately decorated to signify the crowning of the achievement. One definition of capstone…
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Memo to managers: Bring your Catholic values to work

Memo to managers: Bring your Catholic values to work

July 2021, Missionary Discipleship
By Dana Hess Being a manager in a business and a Catholic may seem like two vocations at odds. Mixing the two may seem awkward at best and, at worst, the fast lane to alienating employees. However, bringing Catholic virtues to the workplace doesn’t mean preaching so much as using Christ’s lessons to set a good example. “There’s opportunities that present themselves where you have an opportunity to witness to people,” says Jo Vitek, former chief of police in Watertown. “Most of the time, it doesn’t even have to be verbally. It can just be by your actions, your integrity, how you handle things.” In law enforcement for 36 years, Jo didn’t shrink from sharing her faith in the workplace. Police officers need to be grounded in faith, she says,…
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Seven Sisters Apostolate covers priests in prayer

Seven Sisters Apostolate covers priests in prayer

June 2021, Missionary Discipleship
By Wendy Royston Groups of women around the Diocese of Sioux Falls are gathering spiritually to encircle their pastors in seven hours of daily prayer (one hour per day) before the Blessed Sacrament each week. The Seven Sisters Apostolate began in Minneapolis when “in 2010 Janette Howe sensed a nudge to pray more frequently and intentionally for her pastor … rector of the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul, Minnesota,” according to the organization’s website. “During a walk one day, it occurred to Janette that the very least she might do in gratitude for Father’s ever-generous pastoral care would be to offer a Holy Hour once a week for him.” Howe began to offer a weekly Holy Hour for her pastor that summer. While praying, she heard the words…
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A grateful heart opens us to  abundant graces from God

A grateful heart opens us to abundant graces from God

May 2021, Missionary Discipleship
By Josie Bopp In the life of missionary discipleship, gratitude stirs in all of us a recognition of God’s presence and love, His activity in our hearts and lives. Gratitude opens the heart to the workings of the Holy Spirit. Gratitude is first a response to God’s action of loving and pursuing us. Even when life gets difficult, He continues to offer abundant graces. Trust leads to gratitude Fifty-five minutes of CPR. Fifty-five minutes of waiting, wondering, is my daughter going to make it? Rachel and Matt Mueller sat for 55 minutes watching, waiting and praying as their 11-year-old daughter Alisha went into cardiac arrest on February 12, 2018. Earlier that morning, Rachel had driven Alisha to the emergency room after Alisha started having trouble breathing while dealing with a…
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Overcoming fear is key to being an effective missionary disciple

Overcoming fear is key to being an effective missionary disciple

April 2021, Missionary Discipleship
By Laurie Stiegelmeier Bishop DeGrood’s vision for the diocese, Lifelong Catholic Missionary Discipleship Through God’s Love, is meant for everyone to play a part in. But it’s hard to imagine what missionary discipleship looks like and how it’s carried out. Even more, this is a scary concept for many of us. How do we overcome our fear of sharing God’s love with others? Even the Apostles hid in fear until the Holy Spirit filled them at Pentecost. We need to remember that same Holy Spirit is still alive in the Church and in us, especially through baptism and confirmation. We can also look to the witness of the saints who walked before us and learn from those who daily walk with us. Their example can guide us on our own…
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The essential gift of patience  for a missionary disciple

The essential gift of patience for a missionary disciple

March 2021, Missionary Discipleship
By Katie Eskro In the June 2020 issue of the Bishop’s Bulletin, Father Scott Traynor describes missionary discipleship as “encountering the love of Jesus Christ, growing in relationship with him, and inviting and helping others to do the same.” I love this definition. The first thing that strikes me about this description is that the first two steps have to do with us: are we aware of the encounter of Jesus in the events of our everyday lives, and are we growing closer to him and his Church through these ordinary, everyday events? The last part of the definition, to invite and help others, can only flow from what we’ve received. Indeed, if we are to live the Christian life of community in its full, we are not just sharing…
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Helping others grow in relationship  with God, one small group at a time

Helping others grow in relationship with God, one small group at a time

February 2021, Missionary Discipleship
By Wendy Royston At the Lord’s nudging, Bishop Donald DeGrood has laid out a vision for a diocesan-wide call to, essentially, embody the true meaning of Catholicism. “Missionary discipleship is following Jesus and sharing Him with those around you,” explained Dr. Chris Burgwald, director of Adult Discipleship and Evangelization. “To be Catholic has always meant to have a relationship with God, and then do what I can to help others to have a relationship with God. … This is kind of putting a specific name to what our Catholic faith has always been about.” In his first year as the shepherd of the Sioux Falls diocese, Bishop DeGrood has sensed a need for renewed emphasis on what he has themed Lifelong Catholic Missionary Discipleship Through God’s Love. As it is…
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Bishop’s initiative provides insight on challenging culture

Bishop’s initiative provides insight on challenging culture

January 2021, Missionary Discipleship
By Renae Kranz The first generations of Christians, led by the Apostles, faced an enormous challenge after Pentecost: convert to Christianity a world hostile to the good news of Christ’s resurrection and the gift of salvation. They faced great persecution and even death, but their work and the perseverance of many generations after them built a Christian culture that has survived for centuries. This was a culture built on the foundations of Christian faith and Catholic institutions that made practicing faith a natural part of life. That Christian culture, known as Christendom, is now gone. In the early ’70s, Archbishop Fulton Sheen said of the state of Christianity, “We are at the end of Christendom. Not of Christianity, not of the Church, but of Christendom. Now what is meant by…
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