Chris Hurtubise
Director, Office of Evangelization and Missionary Discipleship

“As young men left home to follow a rabbi in Jesus’s day, it is said that their families and neighbors would call out, ‘May you be covered in the dust of the master!’”

That is one of my favorite images from Bishop James P. Power’s “Pastoral Letter on Evangelization.” He continues, that in Jesus’ day, “Disciples sought to follow close on the heels of their teacher, learning to live and see the world anew according to his teachings. We, as disciples of Jesus, are invited to do the same.”

If we are to become an evangelizing church, a vital task is deepening our own conversion, by allowing Jesus to re-form the way we see the world.

St. John Paul II said that, “Conversion (metanoia), to which every person is called, leads to an acceptance and appropriation of the new vision which the Gospel proposes. This requires leaving behind our worldly way of thinking and acting, which so often heavily conditions our behavior.”

Bishop’s letter also tells us that if we do so, we will need to become increasingly comfortable living and thinking counter-culturally. He notes that historically Catholics in America have longed to fit in with mainstream culture, and in the latter half of the 20th century, that longing was realized. He cautions us to ask, at what cost? “Like the Israelites in the Old Testament who longed to be like the other nations to their great detriment, in how many ways have we turned our backs on the fullness of Christianity?”

A helpful image for this comes from the late Australian theologian, Frank Sheed, who wrote:

“It is not even enough that we should see the same things as other people plus the things the Church teaches. Even the things that we and they both see will not look the same or be the same … It is like a physical landscape at sunrise: it is not that you see the same things that you saw before and now find yourself seeing the sun as well. You see everything sun-bathed. Similarly, it is not the case of seeing the same universe as other people and then seeing God over and above. For God is at the center of the being of everything whatsoever. If we would see the Universe aright, we must see it God-bathed.”

How do we see the world? Are our opinions and beliefs largely those of the secular media and popular culture with a few additional Catholic Christian beliefs added in? Or are Jesus Christ, the Gospel, and a Christian worldview the bedrock foundation for how we see everything?

As disciples of Jesus, we have to give the Lord permission to open our eyes to the ultimate reality of existence, to show us our blind spots and misconceptions that our secular culture has imparted to us. In any culture, most people absorb their worldview subconsciously from the broader culture. For us, that broader culture is imparting a skewed and – let’s be honest – deeply harmful view of the human person: our dignity, our sexuality, our call to life-giving relationships, etc..

Bishop Power’s letter serves as a wake-up call to us: “We will continue to lose members – and at what cost to them and us! – unless we begin to offer a clear and attractive alternative to the secular vision that our culture is promoting.”

While broadening our efforts of evangelization, we need to also deepen our efforts of intentional, authentic discipleship, putting in the work to develop a fully Catholic worldview.

Toward this end, we are specifically redoubling our efforts to impart St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, which is a providential gift the Lord gave us for this cultural moment. The diocese is doing this through intentional formation in our Catholic Schools and parish religious education programs, but the message needs to get out more broadly.

Accordingly, on Feb. 29, the Diocese of Superior will host a Theology of the Body Immersion Day at St. Joseph in Hayward, featuring renowned TOB speaker, Bill Donaghy. A professor at the Theology of the Body Institute, Donaghy will give a series of short talks designed for parents, grandparents, clergy, catechists, catechetical leaders, teachers, marriage preparation leaders, parish staff, men’s groups, women’s groups – in a word, everyone!

Speaking to the role of TOB in the church’s mission right now, Bill said, “The Theology of the Body plays an essential role in the mission of Evangelization. It is in fact a kind of foundational pre-Evangelization… It seeks to answer the most fundamental questions about being human; the question of why are we here, what is our identity, how can we be happy, and where is our ultimate destiny.

“For people to fully meet Jesus, and experience the full sacramental life of the church, they need to understand that we are all woven into a story, in the words of Pope Francis, a great love story, and this is all reflected in the mystery of our human sexuality as male and female. To understand what the church actually is, we need to understand this love story. Otherwise, it’s simply about rules and regulations. The Theology of the Body shows us that this is all about relationship! And in fact, the most beautiful and intimate relationship we can imagine!”

We hope and pray that hundreds of people will come to Hayward to receive the gift of this day. To register, visit Contact Jen Metzger at with any questions.

A professor at the Theology of the Body Institute, Bill Donaghy will give a series of short talks in Hayward on Feb. 29. (Submitted photo)