Since the first day of my internship at the Catholic Apostolate Center, I have had many unique opportunities to grow in my faith. I have learned from examples of inspired Catholic leadership, and how resources, blogs, and podcasts can spread the faith. Perhaps the most significant lesson I have learned while working as an intern at the Center has been the importance of collaboration.
One of the primary missions of the Catholic Apostolate Center is promoting the collaboration of parishes, dioceses, and organizations in order to develop the New Evangelization. Projects at the Center such as the Saint Project, blogs, podcasts, and retreats involve many different collaborators who bring a variety of professional backgrounds, strengths, experiences, and ideas to the table. As an intern, I have learned that when individuals come together to collaborate with a mission centered on Christ, something is created that is greater than the sum of its parts. While an intern, I often found myself asking my co-workers for advice based on their experiences and strengths. I realized that my own strengths were made stronger with the assistance, ideas, and advice of others at the Center. Through collaboration, projects are given a new life and energy and are able to more deeply impact others.
In order to foster effective collaboration, I have learned that you must identify your own strengths and find a way for your gifts to complement or benefit those you are working with. In 1 Peter 4:10, Peter tells us that we have all been endowed with gifts that we must use “to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” During my time with the Center, I have realized that one of my strengths is a diligent attention to detail that I used when working with others to edit and create biographies and videos sharing the lives of the saints. Others I have met at the Center have brought to the table their strengths of leadership, computer skills, writing in a way that elicits a positive response and an evaluation of faith, and the ability to think creatively in order to help others.
While writing biographies on the saints, creating feast day videos, and editing for my work on the Saint Project, I have noticed a common theme of collaboration in the service and evangelization of the saints. For example, St. Vincent Pallotti, the patron of the Catholic Apostolate Center, spent most of his life doing missionary work and reviving the faith of the spiritually needy. He realized that he could not promote universal charity alone, and therefore created the Union of Catholic Apostolate to form collaboration among the lay faithful and religious in order to reach as many as possible. Blessed Elisabetta Sanna was a close companion of St. Vincent Pallotti and one of the earliest members of the Union of Catholic Apostolate. They worked closely together to spread the Faith and tend to the needy. Elisabetta even sold items she knitted to help fund the houses in which St. Vincent Pallotti welcomed the sick. Bl. Elisabetta and St. Vincent Pallotti show the beauty, effectiveness, and charity that can come from collaboration.
St. Vincent Pallotti shows us that it is even possible to collaborate so in the midst of a wide-spread virus. In 1837, St. Vincent Pallotti and his fellow priests worked tirelessly to help those suffering from the Cholera pandemic. This example shows that collaboration must happen for the good of society despite any challenges. Today, it is very easy to simply go about our lives with little collaboration because we are isolated from others. However, now is an urgent time to go out of our way to collaborate for the good of others. People need a revival of faith and a reminder of God's mercy now more than ever. During my time at the Center, I have realized that despite separation as a result of COVID-19, collaboration of people of faith is still possible and can still create resources that inspire faith in others.