Nurturing a Culture of Missionary Discipleship Article Series (Fr. Thoman)


Are you a missionary disciple?

Pope Francis teaches, “In virtue of their baptism, all the members of the
People of God have become missionary disciples (cf. Mt. 28:19). All the baptized,
whatever their position in the Church or their level of instruction in the faith, are
agents of evangelization…. The new evangelization calls for personal involvement
on the part of each of the baptized…. Every Christian is a missionary to the extent
that he or she has encountered the love of God in Christ Jesus: we no longer say that
we are ‘disciples’ and ‘missionaries,’ but rather that we are always ‘missionary
disciples.’” (Pope Francis Evangelii gaudium, 120)

Ever since Pope Paul VI, the Church has deepened its understanding of
evangelization in the modern era. Most recently the U.S. bishops developed a new
document entitled, “Living as Missionary Disciples.” Over the past year parish staff
and those in leadership have studied and discussed this document. This document
clearly lays out four moments in the evangelization process:

  • Encounter. To encounter Christ is the purpose of evangelization. The
    encounter is a response to Jesus’ invitation, “Come and see.” (Jn 1:46)
  • Accompany. Encountering Christ alone could be intimidating! Or, at least,
    mind and soul boggling. Friends and family stand by us to encourage and support.
    We begin to follow Jesus. (Mt 9:9)
  • Community. Soon, we join others in the Christian community, which is the
    Catholic Church. We become an integral part of the community. (Jn 15:4)
  • Send. Filled with zeal, we feel empowered to share our good news with
    whoever will listen! (Mt 28:19)

This is the first of nine articles illustrating these four moments, first, on a
personal level and then on a parish level.  Subsequent articles are listed below:

Article 2

Article 3

Article 4

Article 5

Article 6

Article 7

Article 8

Article 9



  • Cassie Schetgen

    Hi Lynda!

    Congratulations again on entering the Church Saturday night. We are so glad you've found your home in this family! I personally think it would be awesome to have you write about moments in your faith journey. There are so many misconceptions about the Church (even sometimes within our own people) and if you have the gift of writing, then it seems like there is a need you could help with!
    You ask if your newness is an issue - absolutely not! Some of the most on fire and devoted Catholics I know are those who have converted. Those of us who are "cradle Catholics" I think take for granted the treasures of our faith and the love that Jesus Christ has for us. It doesn't matter how long we've been Catholic or what we've been through, we are all called to share our love for Christ at every stage of our journeys. How we each do it may look different, but we are called to use the gifts He has given us to do so. It looks different for each person, since we all have different gifts! If you have the gift of writing, then use it for His glory! :)
    Some of the buzz words you ask about are words that have become more popular in the last few decades. Pope Francis wrote "The Joy of the Gospel" a few years ago and it talks about proclaiming our faith in today's culture. It is a good read if you're interested. I think you may enjoy it. This is not something new though in the Church. John Paul II and Benedict XVI talked a lot about the "New Evangelization" too!
    Here's a link to "The Joy of the Gospel" if you're interested:
    In Christ,

  • Lynda Jelinek

    Since reaching my year long spiritual goal of being a full fledged, baptized, communion receiving, confirmed Catholic, I immediatley felt lost. (Yes, after only 2 days) What is next for me? What is my new spiritual goal? Maybe because I like to write, perhaps sharing some of the pivotal moments of my year long adventure would benefit others who have misconceptions that may be keeping them from the Catholic Church.
    My query here is about the buzz words: evangelize, disciple, and missionary. What do they really mean ? Is it a matter of how you physically manifest what you share? Also, is my newness an issue?
    There are some specific issues concerning myself and what I mistakenly believed early on about the Catholic Church that really drives me to want to shout out to the world how wrong they are, or maybe just how right God is. Unsure if I am being too unrealistic in making this a spiritual goal. Thanks for any, totally honest, input.
    Lynda, (the tenacious new kid) ;)