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Show Notes

Elizabeth Spencer joins Fr. Patrick and Emily in the virtual studio, where she shares how her experience of encountering Jesus in a personal way as a college student led to her career dedicated to ministry in youth and family faith formation.

(0:35) Fr. Patrick opens by asking Emily about her highlights from her recent trip to Rome, where she represented the Communications team from the Archdiocese of Detroit. She shares the powerful experiences of praying at tomb of St. Aloysius for her Detroit community parish of St. Aloysius, praying at the tomb of St. Paul, one of her favorite saints, and finally the group audience with Pope Francis she was able to participate in. Emily discusses how inspiring the city of Rome is as an emblem of the Catholic faith, and how through her trip she felt renewed in the mission of unleashing the Gospel here in our communities.

(5:25) Emily leads listeners in prayer through the intercession of St. Paul and St. Aloysius.

(7:00) Emily introduces guest Elizabeth Spencer, who is an active mom, cross-stitcher, and runner. Currently expecting her third child, Elizabeth shares how experiencing pregnancy during the Advent season has drawn her closer to Mary as she has reflected on the graces she gives us as our spiritual mother.

(9:35) Emily asks Elizabeth to share about her journey to becoming a joyful missionary disciple. Elizabeth discusses how her personal relationship with Jesus grew through the relationships she built with a non-denominational youth group she was involved in during high school, where she was encouraged to form a personal relationship with Jesus and see the ways in which Jesus was real and present in her life.

(18:00) During her time in college, as Elizabeth explored Christianity, she was led back to develop a stronger identity in her Catholic faith through people who helped her deepen her understanding of the truth of the Catholic faith, including her father who gave her the book, The Seven Secrets of the Eucharist. Becoming involved in campus ministry at Michigan State, she met her husband who also helped her grow in her faith journey. During this time, one of her most profound lessons was seeing how God meets us and loves us each exactly where we are.

(24:10) Fr. Patrick reflects on the Archbishop’s words from Unleash the Gospel about building unity with our brothers and sisters from other Christian denominations, and Elizabeth shares about how she connects with and learns from churches in her community through her parish work.

(26:50) Fr. Patrick invites Elizabeth to discuss how she became involved in pursuing ministry as her career. Elizabeth discusses how she became a youth minister at St. Anastasia. She is now the parish catechetical leader, where she focuses on faith formation and religious education. Over the past five years, she has worked to ensure that faith development is available at every level to meet all families where they are at, so that families are able to delve into active faith formation from their own homes. She most enjoys giving families opportunities to pray together.

(32:50) Elizabeth discusses her tips for family faith formation with young children, including talking about the saints with your children, reading the Gospel as the family, and doing activities so children can engage with the Gospel reflection. She encourages families to use 52 Sundays as a guide for helping parents and children connect with the Mass each week.

(34:40) Emily mentions that she has been reading Food for the Soul as a helpful resource in her journey of also actively connecting with Mass each week. She asks Elizabeth what dream the Holy Spirit is putting on her life at this time. Elizabeth shares that her hope is for her children to love and know Jesus as she witnesses her faith to them.

(41:45) Elizabeth, Emily, and Fr. Patrick close in prayer together.