Kathleen Peterson

Storyteller & Missionary Disciple

What is…

… spiritual accompaniment?

By baptism we are family members through adoption in Christ.

As in any healthy family the members support one another, help each other to grow, love and care for each other, communicate and journey through life together.

In this spiritual family there are many voices, different strengths, and varied vocations.  But each member has the same goal — heaven — and the path is discipleship.

By baptism we are called to “go and make disciples of all nations…”, Matthew 28:19.  

So, how do you do that? Check out this video by Verge Network:

The Gospel writer Luke tells us that after Jesus appointed the seventy-two, He sent them out in twos to spread the message of the Gospel (Luke 10:1). They did not travel alone, but in pairs. These men were sent out to teach and to set the example of how a follower of Jesus speaks, acts, serves, and loves.

Jesus knew they would encounter opposition, apathy, and even hatred.  He sent them with a warning, “I send you out like lambs among wolves.” (Luke 10:3).  The Son of God knew that each disciple needed the support of another which is why He didn’t send them out on their own, but in pairs.

Traveling together was not only for safety.  They were to support each other along the way in a spiritual friendship.  Together they prayed, learned, shared meals, held each other accountable as they grew in faith.

Iron is sharpened by iron; one person sharpens another.

Proverbs 27:17

In order to make disciples of those who did not yet know Jesus, these 72 first needed to develop their own faith and love for Christ. As the saying goes, you cannot give what you do not have.

After being commissioned by Jesus and empowered by the Holy Spirit, these men strengthened their faith by walking together, living together, and praying together.

Once reaching a new town, they could build relationships with those they met. It was then that their preaching and teaching, through oral and lived experiences, could change hearts and develop disciples. These new disciples could, in turn, walk the same journey with others.

This formula has not changed. But, in my personal experience in both parish and diocesan ministry, it has not been used.

A relationship with Jesus Christ is not nurtured in a classroom but through spiritual friendship. It takes an investment of time and patience to walk the journey with person.

Bishop Frank Caggiano said it best at a meeting with diocesan youth ministry directors at the NCCYM (National Conference on Catholic Youth Ministry). His challenge to our group was what he called the ” Theology of Accompaniment”.

Who in this room is ready to walk side by side with a young person until he has or she has made that great leap to do it for someone else.

Frank Caggiano, Bishop of Bridgeport, Connecticut

I’m posting the video from Bishop Caggiano’s in-service to the membership of the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM). The video is set to start with the above quote but it’s worth watching the entire talk.

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