Archdiocese Local

Living faith at work

Archbishop Naumann speaks to Catholic Business Network

by Jill Ragar Esfeld 
KANSAS CITY, Kan. — “The first way you’re called to evangelize,” Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann told members of the Catholic Business Network at a breakfast meeting Nov. 9, “is by the way you live your life.

“Lead heroic lives of faith and love,” he instructed them, so that others would be inspired to ask “What gives this person peace and hope?”

The archbishop opened his keynote by directly addressing one of the organization’s founders, Dan Spencer, saying he was “glad to experience some of the fruits of our discussions.”

Spencer had come to the archbishop just over two years ago for help in getting the Catholic Business Network started. The group has seen marked growth in membership and sponsorship since then.

One of the visions of the faith-based group is evangelization, and this was at the heart of the archbishop’s message as he encouraged his audience to spread the Gospel by living it.

He illustrated his point by drawing on anecdotal references to people who didn’t hesitate to show their Catholicism at work, such as baseball player Mike Sweeney.

The archbishop talked about his own family in St. Louis and the admiration he had for the faith-based work ethic of his grandfather and father.

The archbishop told his audience to treat every individual with honesty, integrity and respect, relying on the great gift of the Catholic faith for energy and inner strength.

We are called not to impose our values on others, he explained, but to share them, with human dignity always at the core of those values.

“People are more important than profits,” he said.

Ernie and Susan Straub were a case in point, he noted. The couple was honored at this year’s Catholic Education Foundation dinner. Though it took some sacrifice, the Straub family held their company together through the recession without laying off a single employee.

The archbishop also emphasized the importance of blending work with marriage and family, saying “strong marriage is the foundation of family.”

He said the light of faith is shown by the priority a person places on relationships outside of work.

“If we don’t have strong families, culture and society will deteriorate,” he said.

The archbishop assured his listeners that by living their Catholic faith with integrity at work, they will spark opportunities for co-workers to ask, “What makes you the kind of man or woman you are?”

This, in turn, will open up an opportunity for others to know Jesus Christ.

Our purpose, said the archbishop is for “happiness built on holiness.”

He told the businessmen and women that the strength to live our faith at work comes from nourishing ourselves with all the Catholic Church has to offer.

The most important sources for that nourishment, he said, are to be found in the reception of the Eucharist and by participating in eucharistic adoration; in making time for daily prayer; and in availing ourselves of the sacrament of reconciliation, which he called one of the great tools God had given us for holiness.

“Catholic faith,” he said, “is not about self-perfection.

“It’s about transformation.”

About the author

Jill Esfeld

Jill Ragar Esfeld received a degree in Writing from Missouri State University and started her profession as a magazine feature writer, but quickly transitioned to technical/instructional writing where she had a successful career spanning more than 20 years. She returned to feature writing when she began freelancing for The Leaven in 2004. Her articles have won several awards from the Catholic Press Association. Jill grew up in Christ the King parish in Kansas City, Missouri; and has been a member of Holy Trinity Parish in Lenexa, Kansas, for 35 years.

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