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Monday, June 11, 2012

IPO’s and Witnessing Faith in Christ

I am neither a big time investor nor an expert in the economy, but the recent controversy over Facebook’s initial public offering (IPO) nevertheless got me thinking about the advantages and disadvantages of going ‘public.’

After several stellar years as a private company, Facebook finally went public.  On the one hand,  going public creates increased access to wealth,  but on the other,  going public makes companies more vulnerable to criticism and increased scrutiny.

What does Facebook going public have to do with the Office for Peace and Justice, you may wonder?  Well, just as Facebook now has to deal with amplified skepticism, so too do baptized Catholics who publically witness their faith in Jesus Christ. They now open their personal lives to greater public inquiry.

John the Baptist went public with his faith in Jesus and got his head chopped off.  The difference between having faith in Facebook stock and faith in Christ and His Church is that Jesus tells his followers upfront that they should expect to lose everything in order to gain eternal life (Mt. 16:24).

Losing face (let us pray we don’t suffer the same fate as John the Baptist) is often the price one pays today in carrying out the mission of Christ’s Church.

During the intense weeks leading up to justice month, when vicariate teams of recruiters wondered if anyone, in fact,  was going to show up to the events we had spent so much effort planning for, I had the privilege of teaching a key principle of publically witnessing one’s faith.

‘Realize that when an individual rejects your offer, they are not rejecting you but rather the one who sent you,’ I reiterated to anxious recruiters before our event.  Faith must never be reduced to what is seen (how many show up) but rather in possessing hope in what is not seen (anticipating with Christian hope how many the Lord will choose to send.)

Even though the ego of recruiters can be damaged when people who made promises fail to show up, rejection actually serves a spiritual purpose. It can strengthen our resolve and build up our resiliency.

The upcoming Fortnight for Freedom represents a corporate effort to encourage individual Catholics to publically witness their faith.  During two weeks leading up to July 4th, Catholics across the U.S. will be praying, learning and experiencing their faith in ways the American public has never witnessed before.

Here in the Archdiocese of Chicago, The Office for Peace and Justice has put together a foundational catechesis on Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship for parishes.  This document is most useful when discussed and delved into in a group setting.  The underlying goal, according to Director Scott Mclarty, is to understand that, “Faith shapes the whole of life”.

If you can help us promote either Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship  or Fortnight for Freedom at your parish, please contact

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Thursday, June 14, 2012 2:04 PM

First of all - kudos on the "beard" - first time I have ever seen you in one. Great article - sounds like Justice Education is a great fit. You always were out on the edge. Miss talking with you after all these years and all the years we worked together at Life Directions. God's Blessings for you and your wonderful family.

Patrick T.

Thursday, June 14, 2012 1:28 PM

Nicely written! Love the link to FB. Unlike FaceBook, without a public face to faith our faith isn't really worth anything. Thanks and keep writing!

Roxanne M.

Thursday, June 14, 2012 11:49 AM

Congratulations, Tom, and many thanks for this easy-to-use and needed resource. It should lead to wonderful discussions at a time when they are sorely needed.

Terri M.

Thursday, June 14, 2012 11:35 AM


Very well done... as always!

Jim S.

Jim S.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 11:46 AM

Tom, what an amazing man of God you are. I feel very strongly that your knowledge and wisdom on accompanying of the faithful will be an incredible resource for leadership development with our Faith and Public Life ministry at Most Blessed Trinity Parish in Waukegan. We are looking forward to your guidance in Catholic Social teaching to make the Faith and Public life ministry even that more effective in doing God's work. Blessings

Carmen P.

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