May I Please Have a
“God Loves You a Latte”?

When the Archdiocese of St. Louis unveiled the All Things New initiative, Jen Ryan began praying…and talking with her friends. They all work in ministry for the Catholic Church, so All Things New was going to affect them professionally and personally by where they work and where they attend Mass.

“It’s easy to get bogged down by discouragement. No one likes change. But the other side of loss is opportunity and potential gain. People sell themselves short by not thinking they have something to give and we as Catholics have lots to give!”

Fr. Chris Martin, Vicar for Strategic Planning, had asked the public to share their ideas, so Jen and a group of friends (three priests and two other lay women) came together one night and dreamed about what could be done with structures that are already in our neighborhoods and how to use them in ways that “evangelize outside the box”.

“When two or three are gathered, then we know the Lord is with us,” says Jen, Pastoral Associate at Church of the Magdalen in South St. Louis. “When we made prayer part of our process and opened our hearts to where God is calling, then we felt the Holy Spirit guiding us through our creativity in thinking about what could be ‘New’ in All Things New!”

The friends brainstormed throughout the evening, coming up with ideas to serve and evangelize people in different communities and utilize the gifts of Catholics who currently share their talents in the secular field but not necessarily with the Church.

“We envisioned ideas for various Catholic Centers and got particularly excited about the food opportunities,” laughed Jen. “Like a deli with sandwiches like a Philip Neri Panini or a coffee shop where you could get God Loves You a Latte! Even ordering could be evangelizing!”

The group emailed their ideas to Fr. Martin, who read every one of them and is including them with all the information the All Things New team has gathered.

By approaching future changes with an open heart and mind, Jen and her friends created an excitement and better understanding among themselves about the future.

Jen says she’s hopeful about the possibilities the All Things New initiative may uncover. “The Holy Spirit wants to do something, and it really is something new.”

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