An evangelization challenge to the diocese

Mark Middendorf, the founder of Lighthouse Catholic Media, challenged the faithful of the Diocese of Wichita during a talk Wednesday, Feb. 10, in the Cathedral’s Good Shepherd Hall. (Advance photo)

Founder of Lighthouse Catholic Media urges the faithful to reach out to every soul in the diocese

Mark Middendorf heaped praise upon those attending his talk Wednesday, Feb. 10, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita.

“You live in a bubble,” he said after an early Mass and a Catholic Assembly of Business breakfast in Good Shepherd Hall. “You probably are the best diocese in the country.”

After citing the blessings of how stewardship is practiced by the faithful, the availability of Catholic education, the number of men studying for the priesthood, and the youthfulness of its priests, he mentioned one more statistic: about 50 percent of the Catholics in the diocese attended Sunday Mass (pre-Covid) while the number in the rest of the country is around 20 percent.

Then Middendorf let the hammer fall.

“But even in the best diocese in the country, if you have 50 percent that are coming to weekly Mass, you have 50 percent who aren’t coming,” he said to the 60 CAB members attending, adding “that’s about 60,000 people, a whole lot of souls, who are not coming. Who’s going out and reaching them?”

The founder of Lighthouse Catholic Media then extended the evangelization challenge to reach out to every soul in the diocese, just under one million people.
Middendorf said if one compares the number of people attending Mass to the total number of souls in the diocese, only about 5 percent of the entire population in the diocese attends weekly Mass.

“I really think Jesus would want the other 95 percent attending Mass,” he said.

Founding father showed courage

Middendorf spoke about how Charles Carroll, one of the founding fathers of the country and the only Catholic signatory of the Declaration of Independence, was confronted by another member of the Continental Congress that because his name was so common it wasn’t unlikely he would be persecuted by the British Crown.

“He promptly turned around, went back to John Hancock’s desk, grabbed the declaration, and added ‘of Carrollton’ to his name,” Middendorf said.

Of those who signed the declaration, he said, five were captured and tortured, 12 had their homes ransacked and burned to the ground, and nine fought and died in the Revolutionary War.

“Charles would live for another 56 years,” he said. “He was the last surviving signer, despite the fact that he was the only one who put down his town of origin.”

God is speaking to us

After sharing a story about St. Augustine, Middendorf discussed how the doctor of the church read Romans 13:11-12 – as if God was personally speaking to him: “And do this because you know the time; it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep. For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed; the night is advanced, the day is at hand. Let us then throw off the works of darkness [and] put on the armor of light.”

The first of three keys “for going all in,” Middendorf said was to listen for God’s voice, preferably in an adoration chapel. The second is to hear what God is telling us. The third key is to “live the call.”

God created everyone for a purpose, he said, “a mission for you that only you can accomplish – nobody else can accomplish it for you.”