From Anglican priest to Catholic evangelizer

Why would an Anglican priest want to become Catholic?

After a long faith journey Taylor Marshall found himself knocking at the doors of the Roman Catholic Church. He discovered his thirst for authority was satiated in Rome.

“Fundamentally, I became Catholic because I believe with all my heart that the Church is the body of Christ,” Marshall recounted on his website. “As St. Paul once wrote, ‘Love believes all things’ (1 Cor 13:7), and I believe that the Church isn’t merely an institution but that she is the mystical body of Christ.”

Marshall, who left the Episcopal Church in May 2006, will recount his conversion at the annual Servant of the Word banquet Feb. 28 in Denver.

He’s appeared on EWTN’s “The Journey Home” among other shows and travels to share his story and faith. He’s well known for his widely-read Catholic blog, weekly podcasts and more recently through the online learning school he founded called the New Saint Thomas Institute.

He will be honored for his service to the word of God at the banquet.

“He has been creative in spreading the knowledge and love of God,” said Ben Akers, director of the Denver Catholic Biblical School.

Akers said the Biblical School’s students enjoy his “Origins of Catholicism” series and is respected for his ability to skillfully explain St. Paul’s teachings and why God chose Rome over Jerusalem as Church headquarters.

“He has a keen ability to take difficult topics and make them accessible to everyone,” Akers said.

The banquet is an opportunity for supporters of the Biblical School to socialize and honor Marshall’s great work for the Church, he said.

The night begins with cocktails and a silent auction that students organized and donated. Local artist Devin Montagne will paint an image of soon-to-be St. John Paul II for the auction.

There will also be a raffle for tuition assistance, a live auction and dinner.

The banquet benefits the Biblical School’s apostolate and offsets costs in running the school, which operates under the oversight of St. John Vianney Theological Seminary.

Biblical School students Eileen and Bill Maggio of St. Peter Church in Monument will attend the banquet. They said learning about Scripture and going through the classes has provided needed support through difficult times.

“It’s good information but the whole purpose is to transform our lives,” said Eileen Maggio, who attends the school with her husband. “We just love it. It’s like eating potato chips—you just can’t get enough. It’s opened up a whole new world.”

Supporting the school, Akers said, is also a support for its part of the modern-day culture wars.

“There are so many voices telling people who they are and what will make them happy. Unless it’s the voice of the Good Shepherd calling, the other voices lead to dead ends,” he said. “In the Biblical School, we introduce people to the way God has revealed himself in human history and how he desires a relationship with each of us through the Church today.”

Once God’s plan is realized—it changes everything, he said.

“Their relationships and spiritual journey are transformed. That’s the power of God’s holy word,” Akers said.

Marshall’s own journey is one such example that he’ll share at the banquet.

He told the Denver Catholic Register what he wants attendees to gain from his speech.

“I hope to convey that this is a wonderful time to be Catholic and we have every reason to have peace and joy in Christ,” Marshall said. “In Christ we are more than conquerors and through him we can bring glory to God, hope to our neighbors, and receive the peace that only he can give.”

 

Servant of the Word award banquet
The Denver Catholic Biblical School is hosting the award banquet and silent auction to benefit its apostolate.
When: 6:15 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Feb. 28
Where: Grant Hyatt Hotel, 1750 Welton St., Denver
What: silent auction, speaker, dinner, raffle, live auction
Speaker: Taylor Marshall
Tickets: $110 per person or $200 per couple
Register: by Feb. 20 online at www.regonline.com/2014SOTW
Information: email biblical.school@archden.org

 

Servant of the Word workshop
When: 8 a.m.-3 p.m. March 1
Where: Christ the King Church, 830 Elm St., Denver
What: Taylor Marshall will lead a workshop on “The Origins of Catholicism.” Includes Mass, lunch and a Q-and-A session.
Cost: $60
Register: at www.regonline.com/sotw
Information: email biblical.school@archden.org

COMING UP: On Fathers and Christian Masculinity

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The Year of St. Joseph points us to Jesus’ adoptive father, Joseph, as the essential model for fathers. Joseph not only manifests genuine masculinity, he also images God’s own fatherhood, as Pope Francis makes clear in his apostolic letter, Patris Corde: “In his relationship to Jesus, Joseph was the earthly shadow of the heavenly Father: he watched over him and protected him, never leaving him to go his own way.” Jesus, though the Son of God, obeyed Joseph, learned from him, and worked with him, acknowledging Joseph as a true expression of God’s own fatherhood.  

God does not just use fatherhood as an image of himself, because he himself is Father, even within his own triune life. Earthly fatherhood comes forth from him and should manifest his life and love. St. Paul speaks of honoring the “Father, from whom all fatherhood in heaven and on earth is named” (Eph 3:15). God wants everyone to be able to see his own fatherly love and called certain men to share in his own paternal gift of bringing forth life and caring for others. Every father is called to be liked Joseph, “an earthly shadow of the heavenly Father” for his own family. 

Our culture, however, often denigrates masculinity, sometimes viewing even its proper expressions as toxic. We too often see maleness in its fallenness — dominating and selfish — rather than showing self-sacrificial service. In fact, later in Ephesians, Paul speaks of the true vocation of the husband and father: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Eph 5:25). He also speaks of the role of fatherhood: “Do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Eph 6:4). Paul shows us the goal of fatherhood — sacrificing himself for the flourishing of the family by putting the good of his wife and children before his own desires.   

No matter what the contrary voices of our culture say, we need strong men and fathers. God created man and woman in complementarity, and they need each other to thrive, helping the other in relation to their own strengths and weaknesses. Children need the strong presence of a father to discipline and teach, as Paul reminds us. Study after study has shown that fathers have the largest impact on the faith of their children. Christian Smith explains in his sociological study, Young Catholic America, that “the faith of Catholic fathers is powerfully determinative of the future faith of their children (125). The same can be said for general wellbeing and success. When fathers are absent or refuse to exercise their role, a moral and spiritual vacuum appears. A strong majority of felons, for instance, grew up without fathers in the home.  

St. Joseph helps us to understand the strength of Christian fatherhood. First, like any good husband, Joseph listened — not just to his wife but also to God. Woken up frequently by angels, he demonstrated obedience and trust, quickly leaving everything behind to follow God’s instructions and to protect his family. We also know Joseph for his work as a carpenter and builder, content to live simply and to work hard. Importantly, he also taught Jesus how to work, showing that fathers model and teach by drawing their children into their life and work. And we can also learn from Joseph’s humility, serving the Incarnate God and his Mother without even a single recorded word in the Gospels.  

This humility points us to the essence of Christian fatherhood. Although living with two perfect people, Joseph was still called to lead. He quietly and humbly did what was needed for his family and taught his own maker how to share in his work. Fathers do not lead in order to be in charge or to get their own way. They lead because God asks them to care for and protect their families. Fathers and mothers share in the great and beautiful partnership of family life, although fathers cannot simply sit back and let mom take the lead in the spiritual life, as they are often tempted to do. Like Joseph, fathers should act firmly and lovingly to put God and the family before self, obeying God and leading the family in the right direction. They are called to model faith, work, and sacrifice to their children. 

On Father’s Day we can affirm that masculinity and fatherhood are not just good — they are essential to understanding God and his plan for human flourishing. If our culture turns around, it will be because, in large part, Christian men stand up and fight. As Christians, we cannot give in to the culture’s attempt to denigrate masculinity and fatherhood or to pit men and women against each other. We can use this celebration to affirm the essential role that our fathers play, leading their families like St. Joseph.