I have had an amazing and at the same time a very tiring week, as training for Duc in Altum – put out into the deep (Luke 5:1-11), ended today.   Duc in Altum is a Catholic youth program dedicated to sharing the Gospel and promoting the Catholic faith through catechesis, evangelization, Christian witness, and Eucharistic worship. The program is run through the Office of Vocations. The goal of Duc in Altum is to help young people develop their relationship with Jesus Christ so that there is an intimate friendship whereby he may lead them to the Father by the power of the Holy Spirit. To accomplish this, we emphasize a devotion and love for the Lord in the Eucharist and for Mary our Mother.

                When I was in the parish, Duc in Altum was part of our summer program and I know our children, young people, families and parish community enjoyed getting to know our young college students and seminarians. To see the excitement and joy of the team members as they proclaimed the Lord Jesus Christ was a great sight to behold. However, after being through a week of training with these young college students and seminarians, I am even more impressed and inspired with their desire to live a life of Christ.

                As we went through training there were numerous times when stewardship, this generous hospitality, lively faith and dedicated discipleship was made visible to me in new ways. One example would be on Monday we were reflecting on the theological virtue of charity in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “Charity is a theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God” (CCC 1822). In the margin of my catechism I wrote, “stewardship: dedicated discipleship, love God, love neighbor with an intentional heart.”

                Further the section reads, “The Lord asks us to love as he does, even our enemies, to make ourselves the neighbor of those farthest away, and to love children and the poor as Christ himself” (CCC 1825). Again, I found myself writing in the margin of my catechism “stewardship: welcoming the stranger, PMD 2015.” I am not sure if you are excited as I am about my margin notes on stewardship, however for me stewardship this past week leapt off the pages as we reflected and shared with one another about the virtues and the beatitudes, the curriculum for Duc in Altum this summer.

                My challenge for us is to open ourselves up to this incredible gift of stewardship: to receive, to nurture, to share and return to the Lord what we have received from him. In turn that we might become more attentive to seeing in our daily lives hospitality, faith, and discipleship in action.  What I am beginning to learn is that stewardship is truly a way of life. My prayer for you this week is that stewardship: generous hospitality, lively faith and dedicated discipleship would leap off the pages of your lives.

                I would also like to ask a favor of all of you this summer if you would keep our two Duc in Altum teams in your prayers as they travel and traverse our diocese as young missionaries proclaiming the beauty and richness of our Catholic faith. Please pray for these young missionaries who have such a profound zeal for the Gospel: Andrew Sullivan (seminarian), Madeline Schueller, Ryder Carlson (seminarian), Audree Blankartz, Patrick Yantes, Marianne Hofer, Robert Kinyon, (seminarian) and Jordon Miller.

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