This episode of Open Door Policy is a generous taste of modern Irish Catholicism. Eileen Newell joins hosts Emily Mentock and Fr. Patrick Gonyeau in this discussion of Eileen's walk with the Lord. Her upbringing, the witness of her parents’ faith, and a trip to El Salvador helped her answer the big questions of life that she encountered in college. These days, serving on the Catholic Schools Council and her involvement with Family of Parishes prove to be experiences of God at work through her. Eileen’s love of St. Patrick shows as she closes the episode with a powerful Irish prayer. Take a listen!
00:22 Emily welcomes you to this episode of Open Door Policy. Fr. Patrick asks Emily to elaborate on her favorite aspects of St. Paul. Emily shares that she appreciates that St. Paul was “always grateful” for the gift of his faith. Also, St. Paul is a model for unleashing the Gospel with fervor. Emily then asks Fr. Patrick who his favorite saint is: Mother Mary. He also shares an insight about St. Joseph. Dreams have played an important role for Ft. Patrick, especially with his vocation, and dreams were important for St. Joseph, too.
05:06 The episode guest, Eileen Newell, is welcomed onto the show. Three fun facts about Eileen: she 96 first cousins, has traveled to 40 countries by her 40th birthday, and been to Mass in 16 different languages. She also likes to go cross-country skiing. Eileen gives the audience a taste of her upbringing: her father was a generous physician in their community and her mother was gifted with hospitality. Her father charged her, “Say your prayers and go to Mass.” Her childhood home was very welcoming and warm, a place to bring friends.
15:17 Fr. Patrick asks Eileen about her experience of God in her childhood. She shares that she was surrounded by incredible examples of faith; open family discussions played a big role in opening her eyes to the beauty of her Catholic faith. In college, Eileen started asking the deeper questions about God and her understanding of the world.
19:08 Emily invites Eileen to share about what resources helped her in her faith journey. Asking her pastor questions was a valuable help for Eileen. Her highschool religion teacher helped her dive into the beauty of the Catholic faith, even having her read the Eucharistic prayers from Mass. A trip to El Salvador in college was very impactful for Eileen and opened her eyes to suffering. And through suffering, she came to a greater understanding of who God is.
23:00 Eileen shares about what her life looks like now and how the Lord is at work through her currently. “Waking up in Avent” is a posture of heart that Eileen takes each day. This allows her to be constantly waiting for the Lord and expecting Him to be present in her life. Eileen serves on the Catholic Schools Counsel and loves being part of her Catholic community. Eileen believes in the importance of Catholic Schools as places of evalization for children and families. The investment is significant, but worth the sacrifices to make it happen.
30:45 How is the Holy Spirit moving in the Archdiocese of Detroit right now? Eileen shares her insights to how God is at work in her community. She sees Family of Parishes as an innovative way to bring our community together and connect people through faith. Family of Parishes is like an extended family that takes cooperation to unleash the Gospel.
32:45 Fr. Patrick asks Eileen what her dreams are from the Lord: corporal works of mercy and confession! Eileen sees the corporal works of mercy, especially burying the dead, as a key way that people can support each other through trials. Attending funerals, helping with luncheons, and supporting people through grief are ways she desires to see her community show up for each other. Confession is Eileen’s other dream: “God’s mercy is so deep.” She prays that the sacrament of Confession be utilized as a means of growth and healing.
38:02 The episode is closed in prayer. Eileen prays St. Patrick Breastplate:
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
Thanks for listening to Open Door Policy!