I’m a huge fan of the work being done by Father Robert Reed, who is a priest of the Archdiocese of Boston and the president of the CatholicTV Network. Father Reed is wildly gifted at using the tools of the New Evangelization to win hearts and souls for Jesus and the Church. But more importantly, he is “the real deal”: a holy man, committed to his vocation as a Catholic priest. I’ve been blessed on multiple occasions to see firsthand the operation Father Reed has built at America’s “Catholic Broadband Network”. And honestly, at times I’ve wondered how he does all that he does while remaining so personal, so energized and so grounded.
So when I was able to have a sneak peek at Father Reed’s new book Renewed: Ten Ways to Rediscover the Saints, Embrace Your Gifts, and Revive Your Catholic Faith to provide an endorsement, I jumped at the chance. In blurbing the book, I wrote:
If you’ve ever sat in the pew and pondered how you could share your passion for the Good News of the Gospel, then Renewed by Fr. Robert Reed will serve both as your inspirational marching orders and the primer you need to become a part of the New Evangelization. Both practical and reflective, this resource is perfect for individual or group contemplation and gives each of us the tools needed to bring the treasures of the Church to a world in great need of her gifts.
Here’s a quick look at the book:
In Renewed: Ten Ways to Rediscover the Saints, Embrace Your Gifts, and Revive Your Catholic Faith, Fr. Robert Reed—popular on-air host and president of the CatholicTV Network—issues a creative call to all Catholics to renew the Church by rediscovering the gifts of their faith. Reed profiles ten surprising pairs of saints who offer lessons in reviving faith, starting at the personal level and radiating outward to the wider Church. Fr. Robert Reed, of the Archdiocese of Boston, believes that the best remedy for discouraged Catholics is a reclaimed sense of the tradition’s riches as embodied in the lives of the saints. In this passionate call to renewal, he profiles twenty saints who, like Catholics today, lived in times of crises when the way forward was unclear. Reed creatively pairs saints who at first glance seem to be unlikely companions—Augustine and Joan of Arc, Athanasius and Mother Teresa—to suggest ways readers can begin the work of personal renewal that is essential for Church-wide change. In a down-to-earth and encouraging tone, Reed provides ten persuasive and practical lessons such as “Discover and Receive Your Gifts,” “Look beyond the Present Troubles” and “Live with a True Spirit of Joy.” Renewed is a practical plan for the revitalization of the Church that maps out steps for a grassroots awakening that every Catholic can undertake today.
Today, I’m happy to share a short conversation with Father Reed. I encourage you to make this book part of your personal library. You can thank me later!
Q: So this book is more than simply another nice resource on the lives of the saints. I really see it as a call to action. And I know you intended it to be so. Why is this so needed at this time in our Church’s history?
Let’s consider at the effect of the ministry of Pope Francis not just on Catholics but on the global community. From the moment he first stepped out on the loggia of St. Peter’s he has been inspiring people to look to Jesus and take a new look at the Catholic Church. So too, we have many holy and inspiring women and men whose lives and example call us to renew the Church in our day. We are so distracted and so we need to look more closely at the timeless message of Gospel for which so many have sacrificed and given themselves completely. Yes, the inspiration of that “great cloud of witnesses,” the Saints and greats who have have gone before us is a call to action.
Q: How did you decide which saints to include in the book?
There were certain themes upon which I wanted to focus such as encouraging innovation, being heroic and living a deeply joy-filled life. From there, I looked back to find unique pairings of saints and other inspiring individuals who exhibited these qualities and movements. Drawing from the entirety of Christian history, my simple goal to show that the challenge of discipleship is essentially the same today as always, despite situation and place.
Q: As one who has a deep intercessory prayer relationship with Venerable Fulton Sheen, I would love to know your thoughts on his work and how it has related to and inspired your own. I also can’t help but ask about your thoughts on the recent situation in his cause for beatification.
Without a doubt, Fulton Sheen remains the greatest evangelist of the Church in this country; he was a true pioneer in the use of television and radio. Certainly, times have changed and television, dramatically so. However, the effectiveness with which Archbishop Sheen assertively taught the Faith with brilliant insights and drama, all the while giving confidence and pride to Catholics of his day, is needed again in this historical moment. With regard to the controversy in the beatification process, I feel it has served to bring even greater attention to the life and work of this man who, like none other, can inspire our evangelization through the media.
Q: Can everyone be an evangelist? What are a few specific thoughts for moms in today’s Church who may feel limited in their potential to renew themselves and their Church?
Absolutely, as a matter of fact it is at the core of who we are baptized disciples of Jesus. We know that the Church is found at its most basic level in the family home and as children grow and learn, their mother is a central, nurturing conduit of the Faith. As a priest, I daresay that not a day passes when something I do or say is inspired by that which my mother taught me by her word or example. Moms have a unique and privileged place as evangelizers in their home and in the wider context of the parish family. For that reason, I believe that anything that mothers can do to strengthen their personal friendship with Jesus as well as their understanding of Catholic history, traditions and spirituality will make them more effective evangelists. Moms need to know that their words and example have powerful, lifelong effects.
To learn even more about the concepts in Renewed, I highly recommend checking out the eleven episode “Renewed” television program on CatholicTV. Here’s the first episode, to get you engaged:
Copyright 2014 Lisa M. Hendey