If you’ve been paying attention here on the blog, today’s Book Spotlight interview subject likely sounds familiar. Our friend Sarah Reinhard featured Faith at Work: Finding Purpose Beyond the Paycheck last week and we’re even giving you a chance to win a free copy of Kevin Lowry’s fantastic new book. In my endorsement of Kevin Lowry’s book, I shared:
In an age when workplaces, office hours and business ethics are being redefined, Kevin Lowry’s new book Faith at Work is an essential resource for anyone engaged in work, whether the reader is a seasoned professional or a brand new recruit. With an emphasis on both spiritual exercises and professional pointers to help you succeed at both your career and at life, Faith at Work provides a hallmark for personal excellence. Inspirational, well-written, and full of insight, Kevin Lowry’s Faith at Work provides the motivation, the means, and the message needed for anyone looking to make a true difference in our world.
Today, I’m pleased to share my recent interview conversation with Kevin Lowry and to give this book a major recommendation. Some of our moms may think a book with the words “Work” and “Paycheck” in the title is more suited to career-oriented types, but the truth is that this is the type of book we moms (and dads, kids, singles and grandparents) need to be reading and sharing with one another. Enjoy my discussion with Kevin Lowry, and check out Faith at Work: Finding Purpose Beyond the Paycheck for yourself or a loved one today.
Sure thing! I’m originally from Toronto, Canada and came to the U.S. to attend a small Catholic college called Franciscan University in Steubenville. To make a long story short, I initially got kicked out of the school but returned a couple years later and met a beautiful American girl, now my wife, Kathi. Through our experience at Franciscan, especially a course dealing with Humanae Vitae, we ended up becoming Catholic and now have eight wonderful children.
From a professional standpoint, I began my career in a CPA firm and worked my way up to Senior Vice President of a large company with responsibility for its operations in Ohio. However, as the son of a former Presbyterian minister who later became Catholic, I had been involved with The Coming Home Network International for many years as its treasurer. A couple years ago a path opened to come on board as their C.O.O. so that’s what I’m doing now.
Q: Tell us about Faith at Work: Finding Purpose Beyond the Paycheck — what prompted you to write the book and what will readers find between the pages?
My Presbyterian minister dad also has a Ph.D. in business from M.I.T., so we used to have dinner table conversations about faith and work throughout my childhood. Little did we know that the Catholic Church was already way out front on the integration of the two (for example, Vatican II document Gaudiem et Spes and the work of St. Josemaria Escriva)
What readers will find between the pages probably isn’t what they expect. This book is meant to encourage people. I tell lots of stories about my own experiences and those of others that illustrate basic truths. Many readers have raved about the book precisely because it wasn’t what they expected!
Q: Some of our mom readers may be thinking to themselves, “A book about work… I’m a stay at home mom. Is this for me?” How would you answer that question?
In line with the discussion above, stay at home moms (and moms of all sorts) were actually a target audience for a very practical reason. My wife Kathi is a stay at home mom, and I wanted the book to be something she would enjoy and find relevant. One of the greatest joys I have experienced since the book came out is the terrific feedback from not only moms, but people from every walk of life imaginable. I attribute this 100% to the Holy Spirit, but everyone seems to find the stories relatable – including the ones about the many mistakes I’ve made!
Q: As a parent, what are some of the most important vocational lessons you’ve strived to share with your children and what have they taught you about the value and dignity of work?
What a great question – you’ve actually touched on one of my motivations for writing the book. I wanted my kids to have a legacy that illustrates a way of thinking. Essentially, I want them to strive to allow the faith to permeate every aspect of their lives, including work. I truly believe there is a mutually complementary relationship here: by being better Catholics, we become better workers, and by being better workers, we become better Catholics.
The other thing I want them to recognize is that any legitimate (one friend says any “non-criminal”) work can be sanctified, offered to God for His glory and made into a form of prayer. This is fundamental to living out our vocations in life to the fullest. So it’s not just about money, it’s about our calling as individuals.
Q: What encouragement can you offer busy parents who feel like they are completely overwhelmed with their daily schedules of work, family life, extracurriculars and trying to nurture a faith life?
Wow, yes – great question. I can relate, I’ve been there! One of the things that had the greatest impact on me during my career was the birth of our seventh child, David. He has profound medical challenges, and we weren’t sure he would survive birth, or what his prognosis would be long-term. Through this experience, Kathi and I prayed like never before and thanks be to God – David is now 9 years old and an incredibly cool kid. He still has some challenges, but is doing really well.
Given that backdrop, I encourage parents to imagine a serious illness within their family and to ask themselves what they would give up from the busy schedule – and what they would add. My presumption is that we always have time to do God’s will, so if we’re being run off our feet, we have things on the schedule that shouldn’t be there. But ordering our daily schedules with a morning offering (offering up our day to the Lord) and prayer, along with other practices to nurture our relationship with God, is always important.
Q: For someone who wants to be more active in living out their faith in the workplace, what are a few simple ways to get started?
Great question again! First, start with a little prayer asking for God’s grace and guidance. Also, recognize that being more active living out the faith does not mean going to work and proselytizing co-workers! There are countless ways to live the faith that help us spiritually and practically. Start small – if you’re buried in work, pray over your workload and ask for God’s help in prioritizing. Pray for that irritating co-worker. Show kindness to someone even if you don’t feel like it. The possibilities are limitless!
Q: What type of feedback are you receiving from readers?
I’m astonished, actually – everyone who reads the book raves about it. I know people who have bought it for all their co-workers, moms who have bought it for all their young adult or adult children, organizations who have bought it for group study, it’s really amazing.
Q: Are there any additional thoughts or comments you’d like to share with our readers?
Yes, if you’ve taken the time to read this, please take the time to look into this important subject. Of course, I would love for you to get a copy of Faith at Work, but there are other books worth reading as well such as The Catholic Briefcase by Randy Hain and The Pope and the CEO by Andreas Widmer. I am blessed to count both of these gentlemen as friends, and I’m a fan of their work!
I also want to thank you, Lisa, for your wonderful endorsement of the book and your encouragement. As a new author, this was like manna from heaven! May the Lord bless your faithful work!
Copyright 2012 Lisa M. Hendey