Panelists share how they live faith in the workplace
by Jessica Langdon
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — As chief financial officer for the Kansas City Chiefs, Dan Crumb constantly works with figures in the financial sense.
But other key figures — from the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to the saints — factor just as importantly into his days.
“Everything I do has a faith-based component to it,” said Crumb, a parishioner of St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Leawood.
Crumb will share his experiences of applying faith to his career on May 1 as a panelist at an archdiocesan “Living My Faith in the Workplace” discussion at St. Thomas Aquinas High School’s theater in Overland Park.
The session, which begins at 5:30 p.m., will also feature Terry Dunn, president and CEO of J.E. Dunn Construction; retired command sergeant major and businessman Dutch tenBroek; and retired teacher Juanita Lange.
Then, on May 15 at Most Pure Heart of Mary Parish in Topeka — also at 5:30 p.m. — another panel discussion will feature Melissa Colbern, a physician and founder of Mary’s Choices pregnancy center; John Ginzel, an officer with Kansas Joint Headquarters; funeral home owner Donna Mathena-Menke; and pharmacy owner Dan Sutherland.
Ginzel, a parishioner of Mother Teresa of Calcutta Church in Topeka, sees the panel as an extension of his participation in a men’s group at his parish.
Its members evangelize, walk together in faith, and address the question facing many people when it comes to work and family life: “How do you handle the day-to-day grind?”
Living the faith
The panel programs are the result of the “Live It” portion of the archdiocesan faith initiative, entitled “Faith: Love It, Learn It, Live It.”
The sessions reach out to people in the work world, aiming to help them apply Catholic teachings to their own professions.
Organizers selected panelists from a variety of career fields.
“First of all, they’re good Catholics,” said Ernie Boehner, director of Catholic Action with Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas. Boehner heads up the “Live It” committee.
“Second of all,” he said, “they’re successful in their field.”
The first session took place in Emporia, and attendees heard from wildlife biologist Tim Menard; physician Kimberly Schmid; teacher Dorothy Wilson; and Emporia City Manager Matt Zimmerman.
“My main message was that we can live our faith in any workplace with simple acts of kindness, just as St. Thérèse did,” said Wilson, a member of St. Mary Parish in Hartford.
“I do this as a teacher by giving a child my full attention when interacting with them,” she added.
She also looks beyond today to see the people her students will be in the future.
“I tell my fifth-graders this: ‘That’s what it’s all about — helping each other out,’” she said. “When you help someone out, you have done so much for them, but you are really doing so, so much for yourself, too.”
Many people entering the work world are just realizing how interwoven their whole lives can be with their professional lives, said Crumb, a native of New Orleans. He credits his Jesuit edu- cation with his perspective.
“We’re taught to do everything for the greater glory of God,” he said. “I incorporate that into my work, as well.”
That means everything from praying before key projects, to asking for God’s guidance in big and small matters, to thanking God when things go well.
Before Crumb arrived in Kansas City, he leaned heavily on his faith as he worked to bring back his business after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans.
Ginzel, on the other hand, is the father of six, whom he and his wife are home schooling. Ginzel finds it vital to strike a balance between work and family. That has meant passing up some opportunities for promotion.
“I’m going to stand before the Lord and I’m going to have to give an account of my relationship with my wife and my kids,” he said. “The money’s not important. I’m not taking it with me.”
He loves to engage others in discus- sions about faith, and a quote from Pope Pius XII emphasizes to him the role lay- people have in helping each other grow:
“Deep thought to ponder is this — that the salvation of many depends on the actions of a few.”
‘This is how Christ would be…’
Laypeople have their own call to holiness, said Bill Scholl, archdiocesan consultant for social justice.
“Being a faithful Catholic is not just going to Mass every Sunday, but bringing that Sunday into the rest of your week,” he said. “The Sunday is to strengthen and energize us and prepare us spiritually to go and bring Christ to the world and transform the world.”
Scholl believes that many Catholics — even if they aren’t familiar with all the principles of Catholic social teaching — are practicing them in their professions, including seeing the dignity in every person because they are made in the image of God.
“Certainly, if you’re a politician, that can be some big things, where you’re pursuing a just law or trying to reform unjust laws,” he said. “When people see us, they should see Christ and say, ‘If Christ was a dentist, this is how Christ would be a dentist.’ ‘If Christ was a gardener, this is how Christ would be a gardener.’”
The panel presentations, he says, are an opportunity to see how other Catho- lics live their faith.
Crumb hopes to see a large turnout; he believes faith is a primary foundation in personal and professional life.
“This is going to be the compass that’s going to guide you throughout your career,” he said.