You're an Ambassador, Whether You Like It or Not

1

You're an Ambassador for the Church

As a cradle Catholic, born and raised in New Jersey where cultural Catholics are abundant, reared in a big, extended Catholic family and in Catholic schools, I haven’t always been the best at productively dialoging with Christians of other denominations.  It isn’t something I generally wanted to do, either.  But as I grew through my adult life, my world grew.  There I was teaching in a Catholic school with students who were predominantly non-Christian.  When active in parish peer and youth ministry, I’ve been the Catholic representing at Christian worship events filled with anti-Catholic sentiment.  Now, however, I find my experiences with my Protestant peers the most productive I’ve experienced so far.

You may know me as the Making Music Praying Twice lady, or as the mother of 6.  Either way, I’ve spent a good deal of time in the world of early childhood.  I’m always amazed how many non-Catholics use and enjoy our Catholic music program for their parish or family.  They may make a few tweaks to accommodate faith differences, but for the most part, the content translates beautifully. 

Consider that our fellow Christians share the most important and basic tenants of faith with us.  Generally, our youngest children begin their understanding of faith with these most basic concepts:  God created you and all things.  God loves you.  God wants you to love Him and your neighbor.  So, in the world of early childhood, we see the commonalities a bit more than the divisions, and I find myself discussing this with faithful Protestant families, ministers, and teachers more often than you’d think.

One of our latest projects is an album and teacher guide designed for use across all denominations: Songs for God’s Children.  We offer several albums specific to the Catholic faith, and while many Protestants used those, I realized that we were missing an opportunity.  If Protestant families are hungry for faith-filled music education for their young children, and they tweak a Catholic program, dismissing the Gregorian Chant as the “Catholic part”, we haven’t accomplished much.  In our new product, we do include Christian hymns, songs and Spirituals, but we also include Gregorian Chant and Mass parts, explaining the Scriptural roots of the text, opening a greater understanding for the authenticity of Catholic Christianity.

I’m hoping you see what I’ve learned in my ecumenical journey, is that the answer to reaching out to our Protestant brothers and sisters isn’t always in focusing on our commonalities.  It is also essential that we are knowledgeable, so we can explain our Catholic faith. 

Consider the words of Archbishop Fulton Sheen:  “Not 100 people in the United States hate the Roman Catholic Church, but millions hate what they mistakenly think the Roman Catholic Church is.” 

We must truly know what our Church is, and be willing to learn more, particularly in the areas of apologetics, Scripture, and the early Church fathers.  These are the tools to help others also know the true Church. 

To be clear, I’m not talking about arguing or trying to directly convert anyone.  By helping others to better “know” the Catholic Church, we have done our job.  The Holy Spirit does the converting according to His Wisdom. 

But we can’t help someone know the Church by only discussing our commonalities, it is the what why and how of our differences that helps someone to know Catholicism.  Unfortunately, when non-Catholics are mistaken about elements of Catholicism, it is often because of their personal experience with unknowledgeable Catholics. 

Like it or not, you are an ambassador of the Catholic Church to the world.  Your charity, your works, your faithfulness, and yes, your knowledge is a window into the Church for all that you meet.  It is up to you to do your job well.

Copyright 2014, Kate Daneluk

Share.

About Author

Kate Daneluk is a wife, mother of six, and co-founder of Making Music Praying Twice. With a background in music, theology and education, she contributes articles and resources to various publications.

1 Comment

  1. AMERICA’S MOST WANTED!!! ** HELP PROTECT AMERICA’S CHILDREN **

    Individuals with substantiated claims against them of sexual abuse of a minor within the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis:

    Each man has a disclosure page that may be accessed by clicking on his name. This page includes each man’s assignment history.

    further links to information: safe-environment.archspm.org/accountability/clergy-disclosures/

    •Thomas Adamson – Permanently removed from ministry from our archdiocese in 1985.
    •*Stephen Baker – Permanently removed from ministry in 2000 (died in 2013).
    •Robert Blumeyer – Died in 1983.
    •John Brown – Permanently removed from ministry in 2002.
    •Eugene Corica – No longer in ministry as of 1995.
    •Cosmas Dahlheimer – Permanently removed from ministry 2002 (died in 2004).
    •Gilbert DeSutter – Permanently removed from ministry in 2003.
    •Donald Dummer – Archdiocese removed faculties in 2006.
    •Ambrose Filbin – Died in 1990.
    •*Edmund Frost – Left archdiocese 1975, unknown when permanently removed from ministry (died sometime before 2006).
    •Gerald Funcheon – Permanently removed from ministry in 1993.
    •Kenneth Gansmann – Permanently removed from ministry from our archdiocese in 1960 (died, date unknown).
    •Thomas Gillespie – Permanently removed from ministry in 1996.
    •Ralph Goniea – Died in 2003.
    •Gilbert Gustafson – Permanently removed from ministry in 2002.
    •Louis Heitzer – Died in 1969.
    •Rudolph Henrich – Permanently removed from ministry in 1976 (died in 1992).
    •Francis Hoefgen – Permanently removed from ministry in 2002.
    •Richard Jeub – Permanently removed from ministry in 2002.
    •Dennis Kampa – Permanently removed from ministry in 2003.
    •Robert Kapoun – Permanently removed from ministry in 2002.
    •Jerome Kern – Permanently removed from ministry in 2002.
    •Michael Kolar – Permanently removed from ministry in 1991.
    •Lee Krautkremer – Permanently removed from ministry in 2002.
    •Reginald Krakovsky – Died in 1997.
    •Kenneth LaVan – Permanently removed from ministry in 2013.
    •Ronan Charles Liles – Permanently removed from ministry in 1985 (believed to have died sometime before 2006).
    •Robert Loftus – Laicized in 1977.
    •Alfred Longley – Permanently removed from ministry in 1968 (died in 1974).
    •Brennan Maiers – Permanently removed from ministry in 2002.
    •Harry Majerus – Died in 1995.
    •William Marks – Died in 1979.
    •Timothy McCarthy – Permanently left ministry in 1991.
    •John McGrath – Died in 1995.
    •Wendell Mohs – Left religious order in 1982.
    •Francisco (Fredy) Montero – Permanently removed from ministry from our archdiocese in 2007.
    •Paul Palmitessa – Permanently removed from ministry in 2012.
    •Joseph Pinkosh – Permanently left ministry in 1992.
    •Charles Potocki – Died in 1992.
    •Francis Reynolds – Permanently removed from ministry in 1987 (died in 1988).
    •**Robert Ruglovsky – Pled guilty to criminal charges 1987, permanently removed from ministry in 1987 (died in 2006).
    •Richard Skluzacek – Permanently removed from ministry in 2005 (died in 2012).
    •James P. Stark – Permanently removed from ministry in 1986 (died in 1999).
    •Michael Stevens – Permanently removed from ministry in 2002.
    •Thomas Stitts – Died in 1985.
    •Robert Thurner – Permanently removed from ministry in 2002.
    •Clarence Vavra – Permanently removed from ministry in 2003.
    •Joseph Wajda – Permanently removed from ministry in 2003.
    •Harold Walsh – Permanently removed from ministry in 2005.
    •Raymond Walter – Permanently removed from ministry in 2003.
    •Justin Weger – Permanently removed from ministry in the archdiocese in 1972 (died in 2005).
    •Curtis Wehmeyer – Permanently removed from ministry in 2012.
    •Adalbert Wolski – Died in 2012.
    •Francis Zachman – Died in 1983.

Leave A Reply

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.