Being invited to participate changed my life. I was 17, a senior in high school, and I opened a letter from my pastor inviting me to participate in the Catholic Leadership Institute (CLI), sponsored by the Diocese of Baton Rouge. Until that moment, my faith lived within the boundaries of Sunday Mass and in the spiritual activities my Catholic high school offered.
Reading that letter opened up a desire within me to engage further with my faith. Those 10 days spent at Notre Dame with 75 other young people learning about my faith and how our faith calls us to action set forth my path to where I am today as a lay ecclesial minister. Fr. Carville’s simple invitation to participate ignited a passion and fire within me for an authentic lived faith life that burns still today.
At the age of 24, I received a phone call from a man who worked at the Diocese of Baton Rouge, whom I met at CLI seven years earlier. Once again, the power of invitation impacted my life. This time, the invitation was to work full-time in ministry in the Christian Formation Office. Charles Jumonville saw something in me that I did not see in myself. He called forth and affirmed my gifts. Accepting the invitation felt like coming home in my professional life.
These two moments of invitation remain with me today and impact the ministry I do with those in their 20s and 30s. A simple invitation to come on a retreat, to participate on the team, to lead a small group, or to give a talk often engages young adults in their faith long-term. All of us in ministry have the ability to invite people to participate and to empower others to see the gifts we see in them. I believe this is our way of helping God continue to bring forth the Kingdom, by calling forth new disciples that live their faith lives beyond the boundaries of Sunday Mass.
Who can you invite to participate today?