Laura Kelly Fanucci is an author and blogger who first heard about Diocesan Ministry Day while attending St. John’s School of Theology and Seminary in Collegeville.
Fanucci also was working as an intern for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development through Catholic Charities and the Diocese of St. Cloud.
This year, she will be a first-time presenter at two workshops during the event, which will be held Sept. 25 at River’s Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud, sharing ideas she has gleaned through her writing and her experiences of family life.
“In the morning, I’ll be speaking about the spirituality of parenting, drawing from my book ‘Everyday Sacrament: The Messy Grace of Parenting,’” she said. “The workshop will explore ways to live out the sacraments at home and how to see ordinary parts of family life — like cooking, cleaning and sharing meals — as spiritual practices and moments to connect with God.”
In the afternoon, she will speak about discipleship, based on the book “Living Your Discipleship: 7 Ways to Express Your Deepest Calling,” which she co-authored with Kathleen Cahalan.
“Our book considers seven aspects of what it means to be a disciple: to be a follower, a worshiper, a witness, a prophet, a neighbor, a forgiver and a steward. The workshop will help participants explore each of these parts of discipleship and how they relate to our work, relationships and community life as Catholics,” Fanucci explained.
In anticipation of Diocesan Ministry Day, The Visitor asked Fanucci to answer questions about her upcoming presentations. Her responses are below.
Q: Why are these topics important to you? To others?
A: Both topics — our general calling as disciples and the particular calling to parenthood — are at the heart of my life and work. Since 2009, I’ve worked for the Collegeville Institute Seminars, an ecumenical research project in practical theology located at the Collegeville Institute at St. John’s University.
The Seminars have done lots of work around vocation and calling to create resources that help Christians explore their sense of God’s call in their lives.
Kathleen Cahalan, director of the Seminars, and I wrote “Living Your Discipleship” to help people — and specifically Catholics in this book — to explore our shared calling as disciples of Christ. So the theme of Diocesan Ministry Day on “missionary discipleship” speaks directly to our work on vocation.
Outside my professional work, I’ve developed a passion for writing and speaking about the spirituality of parenting. I blog regularly about the intersections of faith and family life at www.motheringspirit.com. My book “Everyday Sacrament” was borne out of my experiences as a mother to young children, trying to figure out how Catholic theology connected with the challenges and joys of parenting. I find that affirming the hard and holy work of raising children as a calling helps parents to value their vocation in ways they may never have seen before. So I’m delighted to bring both topics to Diocesan Ministry Day.
Q: What do you hope people of the Diocese of St. Cloud will take away from your presentations?
A: I hope people come away with a new framework for understanding their lives, work and family as a calling from God — as the way they live out their discipleship in the world today. I love practical ideas and concrete resources, too, so I hope to share real-life examples that people can use to connect their Catholic faith to their own context.
Q: Why is it important for people to gather in this way and hear messages like yours?
A: It’s vital for each of us as Catholics — as well as for the well-being of the diocese as a whole — to gather together and nourish our shared faith as the body of Christ. All of us naturally spend so much time focused on the particular needs and demands of our lives that we can benefit greatly from opportunities to hear fresh perspectives on our faith. Then, we can return to our homes and workplaces with new energy and inspiration to continue the work that God has called each of us to do.