Alumni Spotlight: Caroline Harvey

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Position: Director of Discipleship and Evangelization at St. Mary Parish, Menomonee Falls, WI
Year of Graduation: 2014
Could you describe what your job entails? What is the most rewarding part of it?
My role at the parish is to oversee all discipleship and evangelization initiatives–to ensure that the parish is seeking, forming, and sending disciples. Practically speaking, I spend a lot of time mentoring parishioners and training them to mentor others in the faith, preparing individuals, couples and families to receive the sacraments, teaching adult formation classes, and providing opportunities for those on the peripheries to encounter Christ through the parish community. When I was studying at JPCatholic I would often write in my notes, “freely you have received, freely give” (Mt 10:8), to remind myself that I must share the immense treasure I was receiving through studying the faith so intensely. Now to have the opportunity to freely give what I have received is immensely rewarding. For what can be more rewarding than seeing another person encounter or re-encounter Christ through the truth and to see how that encounter completely changes their lives? It is certainly a gift that keeps on giving.

How did you find that job?
I found the job through the Catholic community here in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Forming intentional disciples is a major movement with the archdiocese and we are blessed to have parishes that are taking this mission to heart by hiring people to ensure it happens.

How did JPCatholic’s MA in Biblical Theology prepare you for your job?
It was through the MA program that I truly fell in love with the faith. Studying Sacred Scripture is the soul of theology! And only by studying Scripture can you come to understand why that is true. But for me, to study the Word of God and to receive the training that allows me to adequately share it with others, is what allows me to do my job. I cannot give what I have not received, and if I am to form disciples then I must become one myself. I have been able to do that through studying Sacred Scripture, plumbing the depths of the mysteries of the faith, and receiving solid formation in theology that will shape and guide my study and faith for the rest of my life.

What’s your biggest takeaway from your time in the MA Program?
We were constantly reminded throughout the program that the best theology is done on ones knees. We were reminded this because it is so easy to study theology and to know a lot about God, but to never know him personally.  To study the Word and to not truly love the Word and have a relationship with him would be a great tragedy. To be trained as a theologian is to accept that the truth is not something personally made or discovered, but something, really someone, to be received. I’m extremely grateful that this program taught me how to be a theologian.

What’s the best piece of advice you could give to someone interested in the MA program?
If you desire to impact culture for Christ, there is no better way to do that than through the study of Sacred Scripture!