Spiritual Life Center focusing on ‘saving souls, forming soul savers’
The entire world had to adapt during the many months of the pandemic.
Mike Cook said that pandemic downtime was a perfect opportunity for the Spiritual Life Center to hit the reset button.
“It was a great opportunity to look at everything deeply and say, ‘How can we truly form soul savers and save souls?’” he said last week from his office.
Cook, who oversees Vision and Administration for the center, said the ministry’s vision – Save Souls, Form Soul Savers – is in line with the diocesan Pastoral Plan of helping the faithful become missionary disciples.
“We looked at everything from what we’re doing with the programming to how do we support the diocese in a big way,” he said. “We don’t want to get into programs being done at parishes, but we want to support growth in spirituality and learning.”
He said his dream is for the Spiritual Life Center to become a place that “lights a prairie fire in the hearts” of the faithful.
To do that, it required the staff to look at the big picture and the role the center plays in the diocese.
Cook, who started at the center on Oct. 4, is originally from Dighton, Kansas. He attended Wichita State University where he met his wife, Jenny. They are members of Church of the Magdalen, have five children and nine grandchildren – with one on the way.
He alternated for several years between public schools and Kapaun Mt. Carmel Catholic High School and for the last 25 years commuted from Wichita while working for the Education Service Center in Hutchinson. The center serves public school districts in the region.
Cook, who holds a doctorate in education from WSU, said he was planning to retire from the service center in about five years but after talking with Fr. Darrin May, director of the SLC, and Dave Saunders, the center’s mission leader, he eventually realized he was being called to the diocesan ministry.
“The Holy Spirit had to hit me with a two-by-four a couple of times to get my attention,” he said. “And so I ended up saying ‘OK. It’s time to change.’”
Fr. May said he was delighted Cook accepted the job. “He is a very gifted man and an excellent addition to the SLC,” he said.