Encounter Grow Witness

EGW Detroit

Hosted by Fr. Steve Pullis, Director of Evangelization and Missionary Discipleship for the Archdiocese of Detroit, and Beth Spizarny, Director of Evangelization and Faith Formation at the National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica, Encounter Grow Witness is a podcast for ministers on a mission to unleash the Gospel and create a joyful band of missionary disciples in the Archdiocese of Detroit and beyond. Learn how to make the most of your ministry — and take care of yourself as a minister.

Coming Soon: Encounter Grow Witness Podcast
Trailer 1 min 4 sec

All Episodes

Fr. Steve and Beth speak to guest Emily Mentock about her project, Real + True, and discuss the impact of evangelization in digital spaces, especially by bringing the catechism to life for younger audiences. (1:05) Fr. Steve and Beth discuss Thanksgiving and their most favorite and least favorite Thanksgiving foods. Fr. Pullis introcudes guest Emily Mentock. (5:20) Fr. Steve asks Emily to share about her own podcast, Open Door Policy, and invites her to share about the theme of prayer in her own life. Emily, Beth, and Fr. Steve all discuss the role prayer plays in their work and their lives. (9:20) Beth asks Emily to share about working in ministry for the archdiocese and Emily shares her insights about some of the most important skills for listening, relationship building, and keeping a mission focus through her work in the communications department. (14:08) Emily introduces her project of Real + True, discussing the goal of bringing the catechism into real life contexts using video mediums on digital spaces to reach wide audiences of young people. (15:10) Fr. Steve notes that next year marks the 30-year anniversary of the catechism and he and Emily discuss how Real + True seeks to align with the mission of highlighting the catechism for the modern world. (20:45) Emily discusses the positive response Real + True has gained already during its first months, and the impact it is having reaching churches and audiences throughout the country and the world. (23:20) Emily shares how digital content shaped her own faith journey and how authentically personal digital resources can be, especially for younger audiences, as stepping stones through their faith journey. (32:50) Fr. Steve and Beth reflect on their conversation with Emily about Real + True and the ways in which the project offers inspiration and encouragement for the future of the church. Real+True (https://realtrue.org/) is part of The Catechism Project, a global initiative sponsored by OSV.

Nov 18

35 min 24 sec

(0:00) Fr. Steve and Beth discuss the change in seasons, how October is the best month to live in Michigan, and Halloween traditions. (8:00) The episode theme of 'prayer' is introduced. Fr. Steve and Beth share their personal prayer routines. (12:16) Fr. Steve explains that the best and simplest definition of prayer "lifting mind and heart to the Lord." (14:56) Beth discusses the prayer of "Worship," especially praying the Psalms, and how it calibrates our relationship with God. She also shares about her love for the Divine Mercy Chaplet. (20:45) Fr. Pullis opens up about the challenges of a prayer life, including spiritual dryness. (27:00) Our hosts explain how important pray is for people who work in ministry, especially. It starts with just showing up to prayer and putting aside distractions. (37:30) Fr. Pullis explains that God wants more for you, not just from you. And then best way to receive that from him is in prayer.

Oct 21

40 min 59 sec

Beth and Fr. Steve discuss the importance of conflict in our mission as Christians and explain how to engage in healthy conflict with our superiors, peers, and those we lead. Show notes: (00:38) Beth and Fr. Steve catch up with each other and debate whether or not it’s too early for Fall things--from pumpkin spice, to football, to pies, and even cider and donuts. (09:33) Fr. Steve introduces the need for healthy conflict, explains the good that can be produced from it, and the dangers of poorly executed conflict/passivity. He states the importance of not being passive members of the Church so as to not “sell the Gospel short.” (12:32) Beth and Fr. Steve reflect on the concept of conflict as a means to more fully share the gifts that Christ has given us. Fr. Steve speaks on unity vs. uniformity, identifying the beauty behind being united as a Church in our vast differences, gifts and unique talents. (19:18) The question arises of how one is to have healthy conflict. Fr. Steve and Beth respond, establishing the need to acknowledge the good will of the other, approaching their thoughts and feelings with empathy, compassion and wisdom. (23:30) Beth identifies a variable that affects how healthily we handle conflict: burnout. She notes that when we are overworked and exhausted, it’s considerably more difficult to be charitable to one another. (25:55) Fr. Steve presents the question of how we are to have healthy conflict with three different groups of people: (1) our superiors, (2) our peers, and (3) individuals we are leading. (26:36) They begin with the first group, superiors. Beth shares the tip that conflict with this group should always be done in a private, non-group setting, and Fr. Steve shares the conflict tips of knowing the superior’s temperament, being direct with them and charitable. (30:25) Next, they address how to have healthy conflict with the second group: your peers. Beth asserts that directly going to the person you have conflict with is the best way to have healthy conflict and evade gossip. Fr. Steve adds that approaching our peers with “radical candor” can be a fruitful method in navigating healthy conflict and building solid bonds with others. (36:54) Lastly, they discuss how to handle conflict in the third group: as a leader. Fr. Steve voices the importance of treating others under your authority with love and charity; Beth adds her method of ‘winning people over’ through increased trust and growth in friendship, along with practicing directness, humility and the willingness to make mistakes.

Sep 21

44 min 52 sec

Beth and Fr. Steve examine Archbishop Vigneron’s June pastoral note The Beauty of Truth: A Pastoral Note on Communicating Truth and Love in the Digital Age and how we can implement these ideas in ministry. Show notes: (0:50) Beth and Fr. Steve catch up and talk about the joys of Michigan summer. They share vacation updates, and then introduce this episode’s topic, Archbishop Vigneron’s pastoral note The Beauty of Truth. (4:17) Fr. Steve introduces the first element of the pastoral note for discussion: the importance of not only what we say to people, but how we say it. Beth reflects on the “us vs. them” antagonism that exists in media, including among Catholics. (6:40) The two reflect on the attitude and negativity people use on social media and refer to the Archbishop’s recognition that the internet is not a system of wires, but rather a connection of real people. Fr. Steve and Beth discuss the importance of learning how to disagree well and with civility. (12:59) Beth addresses the interest young people have in ‘likes’ and calculating popularity through metrics, and she and Fr. Steve discuss how this problem can be solved. Beth suggests that more in-person relationships, general self-awareness, and increased prayer will combat this problem. (17:44) Fr. Steve and Beth discuss the five “warning signs” Archbishop Vigneron identifies in the pastoral note, beginning with propositions that are out of harmony with the Church’s teachings. They encourage people to refer to the Catechism of the Catholic Church to confirm what the Church teaches and how we’re called to respond. (20:39) They talk about unsubstantiated claims or allegations and how pervasive of a problem this is today. Fr. Steve discusses our obligation as Catholics to the words we use and, rooted in the eighth commandment, to not bear false witness. (23:38) Beth introduces the third warning sign, which is the manipulation of facts to deceive or cause harm. Fr. Steve mentions our call as Catholics to presume goodwill in others while still thinking critically. The two also talk about our obligation for the content we consume. (28:59) Moving to the fourth and fifth warning signs, Fr. Steve and Beth discuss ad hominem attacks and the spirit of division, and the need for us to be apostles in this day and age. (34:57) For the end-of-show quiz, Beth tests Fr. Steve on the most popular dog breeds, and Fr. Steve successfully guesses seven! Links from this episode: The Beauty of Truth (https://www.unleashthegospel.org/pastoral-notes/the-beauty-of-truth/)

Aug 19

39 min 16 sec

Fr. Steve and Beth discuss the universal call to holiness through the lens of Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation, Gaudete et Exsultate. Show notes: (0:56) Fr. Steve and Beth catch up and reflect on the movies they watched and loved growing up that always remind them of summer, like The Sandlot and Independence Day. (5:05) Fr. Steve introduces this episode’s topic of the call to holiness. Beth also introduces Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation, Gaudete et Exsultate, and mentions the richness of the document that she looks forward to sharing in this episode. (7:06) To begin the conversation, Beth offers a definition of holiness, and Fr. Steve refers to Gaudete et Exsultate to offer the Pope’s reflection on the meaning of holiness. They also offer definitions of holiness from Popes Emeriti Benedict XVI and John Paul II. (10:57) Fr. Steve reflects on the evangelical nature of holiness, that it’s a call to go out and witness to the Lord. He and Beth reflect on everyday, ordinary examples as well as some examples in the lives of the saints of what holiness we can live out when we say yes to the Lord. (20:48) Beth and Fr. Steve address the two dangers to holiness that Pope Francis introduces in the document, Pelagianism and Gnosticism. They define Gnosticism and discuss what makes it such a challenge to holiness. (25:04) They transition to Pelagianism, discussing what it is and why it’s a ‘subtle enemy’ of holiness. They discuss where they see Pelagianism in the life of the Church today, like in our tendencies to turn away from prayer and towards action. (30:57) Beth and Fr. Steve explore the third chapter of Gaudete et Exsultate, where Pope Francis examines how to live out the universal call to holiness. They talk about the Beatitudes and how they personify holiness and holy indifference, and they revisit Novo Millennio Ineunte. (36:45) The two discuss the fourth chapter of the Exhortation and discuss: how can we live a life of holiness? What does that look like? They then transition into chapter five to discuss spiritual combat, vigilance, and discernment. (42:22) Fr. Steve quizzes Beth on English names of Vatican documents, and they wrap up their discussion. Links from this episode: Gaudete et Exsultate (https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_exhortations/documents/papa-francesco_esortazione-ap_20180319_gaudete-et-exsultate.html) Evangelii Gaudium (https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_exhortations/documents/papa-francesco_esortazione-ap_20131124_evangelii-gaudium.html) Pauline Books and Media (https://paulinestore.com/) Novo Millennio Ineunte (https://www.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/apost_letters/2001/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_20010106_novo-millennio-ineunte.html) The Soul of the Apostolate (https://tanbooks.com/sanctification/spiritual-direction-books/the-soul-of-the-apostolate/) Forming Intentional Disciples (https://www.osvcatholicbookstore.com/product/forming-intentional-disciples-path-to-know-and-follow-jesus) I Once Was Lost (https://www.christianbook.com/postmodern-skeptics-taught-about-their-jesus/don-everts/9780830836086/pd/836086) InterVarsity (https://intervarsity.org/) The Chosen (https://watch.angelstudios.com/thechosen)

Jul 16

47 min 30 sec

Fr. Steve and Beth discuss transition, coping mechanisms, and how seasons of change can help us be more successful in mission and ministry. Show notes: (1:07) Beth and Fr. Steve share favorite summer memories and introduce this episode’s topic: transition. They discuss Fr. Steve’s upcoming transition to a new role doing priestly formation at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, and Beth also mentions the transitions her parish underwent with a new pastor and the pandemic shortly after she arrived. (12:07) Beth introduces a discussion on the unhealthy ways people cope with transition, such as indulging in comforts that aren’t necessarily positive or “good for us,” or shutting down and avoiding things that help us grow. She and Fr. Steve also discuss the bad habit of complaining that Archbishop Vigneron mentions in Unleash the Gospel. (21:21) They then discuss healthy ways to manage transition: surrendering to God more deeply, remaining hopeful, turning to Mary for help, and asking questions to stay open to learning more. Fr. Steve reflects on how people frequently ask questions of Jesus in the Scriptures and how Jesus always responds. (33:43) Fr. Steve and Beth talk about our universal call to mission and how God is using this season of our lives to help rid us of old habits and form new ones. They discuss what it means to be successful in mission, and how we can calibrate ourselves to be open to the opportunities God places in our ministry. (37:50) Beth relates a parable to remind us of our missionary identity as people of God. She discusses the use of transition periods to shed our bad habits and reclaim our missionary energy. Fr. Steve mentions the importance of the virtue of hope in our intimacy with God, and that intimacy in God is what drives our mission. Links from this episode: Bp. Robert McClory (https://dioceseofgary.org/office-bishop-1) Fr. James Mallon (https://frjamesmallon.com/) Amazing Parish (https://amazingparish.org/) Hidden Brain Podcast (https://www.npr.org/series/423302056/hidden-brain)

Jun 17

46 min 34 sec

Fr. Steve and Beth examine each of the cardinal and theological virtues and how we can use them in the Church and culture we have today. Show notes: (0:21) Fr. Steve and Beth catch up and reflect on the nice spring weather we’ve been having and what they’re enjoying about May so far. (7:06) Fr. Steve introduces this month’s topic of virtues, especially those that God is calling for out of this present moment. He talks about the four cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, temperance, and courage, as well as the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity. (9:25) Beth talks about prudence and the flexibility we need to change our approaches and processes for the Church that we have, which may not be the same as the one we used to know. Fr. Steve offers the example of campus ministry he’s been doing lately, sharing that both the tools and the language used to communicate with college-aged students are so different from what they used to be, and Beth remembers feeling this way in youth ministry as well. (13:45) The two discuss justice as a very necessary willingness to talk about Jesus and the right people have to know him. Beth brings in an example from Penn Jillette to outline that right, and Fr. Steve shares some reflection he’s done on the seventh commandment, “you shall not steal,” as it relates to evangelization. (17:25) They talk about courage; Fr. Steve relates it similarly to the conversation on justice, saying that we have to be willing to engage in the difficult conversations about the Church. The answer to so many of our questions lie in the heart of Jesus, so we have to have the courage to enter into these conversations without the perfect assurance of our own satisfactory answer. Beth adds, saying that she thinks of this courage as the fortitude to live differently in the midst of hostility. (20:54) Beth defines temperance and gives her experience of it being childlike trust, in a way that we aren’t relying on earthly things to solve our problems but rather we’re fully trusting the Lord with them. Fr. Steve echoes a similar sentiment, also adding that a large part of temperance in the year 2021 is moderating our use of social media. (27:37) Fr. Steve then moves the conversation to the theological virtues, which are not things that we earn, but things that God freely gives us out of love. He begins with faith, with the virtue being confidence in the whole Gospel, how it all fits together, and modeling our lives after it. Beth adds with her reflection on confidence in the Holy Spirit and how we are part of God’s work on earth. (33:59) Beth introduces and defines the virtue of hope. She shares a story from her travels that exemplifies how hope should be lived out today — by dwelling on the good and always thinking of heaven. Fr. Steve echoes this idea and adds that we find who the saints in our lives are and how we can turn to them as examples of hope. (38:33) They move to charity, for which Beth offers the Catechism’s definition of loving God above all things and loving our neighbor as ourselves. Beth begins the conversation on charity by expressing the deep personal intimacy each of us needs with God. Fr. Steve adds the importance of sacrificial love, especially for those who don’t believe in God and being willing to be inconvenienced or overlook certain things as a way to bear witness to the Gospel in our lives. (45:13) Fr. Steve and Beth answer audience questions. They discuss how people can grow in virtue and their favorite devotions within the Church. They do a quick cheese quiz for National American Cheese Month and end with personal takeaways from today’s conversation. Links from this episode: From Christendom to Apostolic Mission (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53637909-from-christendom-to-apostolic-mission) Center for Church Management (https://www1.villanova.edu/university/business/faculty-and-research/centers-of-excellence/church-mgmt.html) Gaudium et Spes (http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_cons_19651207_gaudium-et-spes_en.html) Monk Manual (https://monkmanual.com/) Ignatian Spiritual Exercises (https://www.ignatianspiritualexercises.com/)

May 10

54 min 39 sec

Beth and Fr. Steve discuss “communio,” the deep, spiritual community that comes with being Catholic, and how ministers can create a culture of communio in our parishes. *Show notes: * (1:52) After some quick catching up, Fr. Steve and Beth share how their Lents went, how successful their resolutions were, and what they’re reading lately. (6:58) Fr. Steve introduces this episode’s topic: community. Specifically, he addresses the supernatural kind of community, or “communio” that we experience in the Church that you can’t get from a book club or a travel club. (8:28) Beth and Fr. Steve share their experiences of what quarantining during the early pandemic was like — Beth home with her family, and Fr. Steve living at the seminary. They discuss how humanity is meant to be shared and how community is crucial for our happiness. (15:19) They talk about returning to Mass, the graces it brings, and what worked and didn’t work during the process. Beth gives an example of a young mothers group at her parish where she experienced a great formation of Christian community. Fr. Steve reflects on the community he shares with the priests with whom he was ordained, and how God moves through that community to call us to be generous with each other. (22:15) Beth and Fr. Steve give examples of times that community through the Church has fallen short and how we can learn from them. They also discuss the importance of community-building events, like a coffee and donut hour with the right mindset, or gathering a group of men to accomplish a communal task. (30:38) Fr. Steve suggests practical criteria he would set for creating genuine Catholic community. He talks about the importance of being committed to the same goal of holiness and willingness to be vulnerable. He also outlines three steps to building community for oneself. (34:34) Beth shares her insight on how we can apply this as ministers, using the example of how hospitable grocery stores are and how we can improve in that area in our churches. She and Fr. Steve discuss why churches may not seem entirely welcoming at times, and what to do to fix that. (41:48) Fr. Steve and Beth answer questions about community, like how ministers themselves can build friendships and how to adapt to a culture of community in our parishes. *Links from this episode: * The Buried Giant (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22522805-the-buried-giant?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=obbJREHhsn&rank=1) Parish Day of Renewal (https://www.egwdetroit.org/parish-day-of-renewal-2020-resources) Julianne Stanz (https://www.juliannestanz.com/) Fr. James Mallon (https://frjamesmallon.com/)

Apr 8

48 min 18 sec

Beth and Fr. Steve discuss the Church’s main mission of evangelization and how ministers can effectively make disciples, be discipled, and keep our work focused on the main thing. Show notes: (0:22) Beth and Fr. Steve share a bit about what their prayer lives have been like recently. Beth mentions that she’s been praying for unity on both a small and large scale, and Fr. Steve shares his prayers for trusting in God more and relying on his providence. (2:33) Fr. Steve and Beth talk about their Lenten resolutions, with Fr. Steve resolving to not go out to eat and to simplify his life, and Beth’s family resolving to eat what they have at home, not buying extra food or groceries when there’s already food in the house. (5:39) Beth introduces this episode’s topic and how she drew the inspiration for it from Stephen Covey’s quote, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” She and Fr. Steve consider what that “main thing” is for us and why the Church exists. They talk about the importance of pastoral care, but that the Church’s identity and key mission is evangelization. (9:11) Fr. Steve and Beth reflect on the moniker of the “New Evangelization,” and what that means when evangelism has been part of the Church’s mission even from Jesus’ ascension. Fr. Steve discusses the need to evangelize with our lives, and how in order to have this witness with our lives, we must be authentically converted to Christ first. (15:09) Beth reflects on what it means to be a disciple, and how we use the word often but we rarely define it. They establish a disciple as a person who has encountered Christ and chosen to surrender and follow him. The two discuss the joy that comes from following Jesus, and that this joy is perfect because we are created for it, but that it’s also different from comfort. (20:08) Fr. Steve and Beth consider personal discipleship, how we can actually go about keeping the main thing the main thing, and that the key for this is letting our hearts continue to be evangelized. They discuss bringing this into ministry by sharing the work God is doing in our lives. They discuss the power of testimony in increasing the faith of others. (30:14) Beth and Fr. Steve share some of the ways they’ve tried to keep this main thing the main thing that have fallen flat or been unsuccessful in the past, with Beth sharing an event she’d organized that went awry, and Fr. Steve sharing a personal evangelization attempt that didn’t go as he’d expected. (36:29) Fr. Steve and Beth discuss practical application of “keeping the main thing the main thing.” Beth suggests that the most effective way is, of course, through prayer, and that taking time to sit with Jesus is the best way to live out the Good News in our hearts. Fr. Steve encourages intentional goal-setting and evaluating the question, “Is there someone in my life I am helping to know Jesus?” Beth also shares the importance of prioritizing relationships with people outside of the Church. (44:46) The two take questions from the field. One listener asks what our hosts’ go-to prayers are, and Beth shares that hers are the Litany of Trust and the Litany of Humility, and Fr. Steve shares that his favorite is the Memorare. Another listener asks how we can evangelize those who are indifferent or hostile toward the faith, and Beth and Fr. Steve provide insight on what our role in evangelization truly is, and how to set ourselves up for success.

Mar 11

53 min 4 sec

Fr. Steve and Beth examine the significance of scripture and give some practical takeaways for how to incorporate it in our ministry. Show notes: (1:51) Beth discusses her journey to Christ, when she really encountered the life-changing grace of Catholicism, and how she discerned her path to ministry. Fr. Steve also shares about his Catholic upbringing with and his vocation to the priesthood. (9:48) Fr. Steve discusses the podcast’s goals: sharing intentional conversations about ministry with ministers, providing practical ministerial tips, answering questions from coworkers in the vineyard, and to help everyone understand their role in the effort to unleash the Gospel. (14:18) Beth shares her hopes that the podcast will be a way for ministers to be able to accompany one another through our shared responsibility and our shared mission. Beth and Fr. Steve also discuss the importance of connection as ministers and disciples. (18:34) Fr. Steve introduces the first topic of scripture, and how it helps us to better know God’s voice. The two discuss what their relationships with scripture were growing up, resources to help understand scripture, and how to incorporate it into ministry. (39:18) The two reflect on a set of questions Beth proposes when reading scripture: What does this passage reveal about God? What does this passage reveal about me? What is God saying to me right now? Fr. Steve also discusses the inter-relationship between scripture and liturgy. (44:39) Beth and Fr. Steve answer common scripture questions, like, “How do I justify all the terrible things that happen in the Bible?” “How do I start reading?” and “What if I don’t like reading scripture?” (49:20) Fr. Steve shares about the Unleash the Gospel Scripture Challenge taking place in 2021, outlining the six challenges and recommending this as a great place to start with reading the Bible. He also discusses the benefits of studying the Bible using lectio divina. (1:01:11) To close the episode, Beth and Fr. Steve share their favorite Bible passages.

Feb 10

1 hr 3 min

Inspired by the Unleash the Gospel pastoral letter, the Encounter Grow Witness podcast will provide the ministry community with meaningful conversations and practical tips to keep your work on mission. Tune in every month as Fr. Steve Pullis and Beth Spizarny, Director of Evangelization and Faith Formation at Shrine of the Little Flower, discuss topics like scripture, prayer, hospitality, the saints, and more.

Jan 29

1 min 4 sec