By Gordon Nary
Gordon: You had 13 years of Catholic schooling in the Archdiocese of Detroit. Which schools did you attend?
Megan: I attended the now closed Our Lady of LaSallette Grade School in Berkley (pre-school to 4th grade) and then Shrine of the Little Flower Grade School, Academy and High School in Royal Oak. I had a wonderful experience at both parishes and all of the schools!
Gordon: Based on your experiences, what are the benefits of Catholic school education?
Megan: Looking back, I think that being part of the schools made my family better Catholics! We got involved in a variety of service and liturgical ministries and really knew our community better than we would have otherwise. Catholic Schools provide a strong community of faith that surrounds and supports families, especially in the tough times. My older brother became ill while he was in high school, to the point of needing a bone marrow transplant and missing an entire year of school. The community sprang into action to provide food, house cleaning and emotional support to all of us. I have a vivid memory of an all-school Mass with my brother as a special intention. It is a wonderful memory!
Gordon: You were previously Pastoral Associate at Notre Dame de Chicago What were your primary responsibilities?
Megan: I had many responsibilities there! I often joke that being a Pastoral Associate means you must be a Jack of All Trades. My main responsibilities focused around the liturgy (preparation, coordination of liturgical ministers, liturgy committee and RCIA). I also worked on adult formation, ministry with the Hispanic community, some communications and fundraising. See what I mean? That is just the main stuff, but I helped the pastor with a variety of ministries. I had a great experience and learned a LOT there. The community helped me do everything and were my teachers.
Gordon: When and why did you join St Richard Parish and how has the parish helped strengthen your faith?
Megan: When I moved on from Notre Dame, I felt a huge hole in my spiritual life. I had been so involved in that community, I missed the sense of family and friendship it provided. At that time, I had moved out to the southwest side of Chicago, near St. Richard. Given that I was not ready to get super involved in a new parish yet, I wanted to find a new community that would feed me and help me feel like I belong. St. Richard is a real neighborhood parish. I walk to Mass on Sundays. I feel that being part of this parish helps me to know my neighborhood better and to pray for local needs and concerns. I am part of a new community of faith!
Gordon: You are a part-time student at Catholic Theological Union. Which program are you in and what are some of the classes that you have taken?
Megan: I am a student in the Doctorate of Ministry Program, with a concentration in Hispanic Theology and Ministry. At this point I am taking courses on very specific topics, and which are helping me to become an expert in my chosen concentration. I have been studying Hispanic Theology and Ministry for many years now and I love it! Just a few course names are: Borderlands Missions: A Historical Reflection of Christian Evangelization in the Southwestern United States; the Ethics of Power and Racial Justice; Inculturation- Theory and Methods; and Latino/a Spirituality. My final thesis-project will focus on the training of White-Anglo lay ministers for ministry with Latin@ communities. I will be working on this over the next year.
Gordon: When were you appointed Director of the Mission Office of the Archdiocese of Chicago and what are you primary responsibilities?
Megan: I became Director in July 2015. Before that I served as Associate Director for two years. My role requires me to coordinate two major collections that benefit foreign missions (the summer Missionary Co-operative Plan and World Mission Sunday). In addition I am responsible to develop mission education, inspire missionary vocations, and promote missionary spirituality. The Mission Office is a very unique place! I have been blessed to meet missionaries from all over the world (especially Central and South America, Africa and Asia). I oversee decisions to offer support and Mass stipends to our brothers and sisters in mission dioceses. I have really developed a sense of the world Church and it brings me such hope for the future. There is a great amount of faith and joy in mission churches. I seek to spread that zeal with folks here too!
Gordon: Please provide our readers with an overview of your responsibilities as Coordinator, Missionary Childhood Association (MCA).
Ahhh, this is what I call “my baby.” :^) The Missionary Childhood, formerly known as the Holy Childhood, has been around for many years. Some of your older readers will recall saving change to take care of “pagan babies.” This is the same program, though of course we’ve developed our language around mission solidarity. Today the MCA is about education, prayer and sacrifice. I encourage Catholic schools, religious education programs and youth ministries to learn about children in other parts of the world. These are our brothers and sisters in the faith. We also learn about the needs of children and the missionaries who help them. Prayer is very important and I often use the World Mission Rosary as a teaching tool here (look it up!). Finally MCA also asks children to consider making a sacrifice to help the missionaries to do their work with children. We have little collection boxes, and kids will send donations during Advent or Lent or even October (mission month!). I’m happy to talk to anyone about this!
Gordon: Why is Relevant Radio such an important Catholic communications resource?
Megan: We have to use every popular form of communication to evangelize! One of the meanings of being a missionary disciple is that we must go where the people are and not expect them to come to us. This means that we use communication methods like the radio or internet or social media to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ! The Mission Office is lucky to have access to a 30 minute monthly radio show that airs in the Chicago area (Mission Matters). You can also find recordings of the shows online: We find this method is a great way to share stories about the work of missionaries and personal accounts of how mission has changed people’s lives. You would be surprised how important communication is in evangelization. Just today I approved support for a project in Uganda that will help form an archdiocesan newspaper. The people are HUNGRY for Good News! A newspaper for them is essential to creating a unified diocese and forming the people in the faith. Here we use the radio and social media as well!
Gordon: What social media tools do you use when disusing your faith and work?
Megan: I have to admit, even though I could be considered a millennial, I am not much for social media. The Mission Office has a Facebook Page) and a Twitter account (@OMENEChicago), which I keep up. We try to use them as often as possible to share the work we do and notify people of upcoming opportunities for mission experiences. I think the internet and social media are great ways to inspire people and attract them to a deeper faith. It may seem like the world is going crazy these days, but there is a lot of good out there too. You just have look for it!!
Gordon: Thank you for a beautiful and insightful interview.