I grew up loving the stories of heroes. Larger than life characters like Spider-Man, Superman, and Luke Skywalker showed me that through dedication and hard work, anyone could do the right thing and become a hero. My Catholic family showed me that Jesus Christ was a great example of a strong hero. He always did the right thing, put others first, and boldly proclaimed the Gospel. The idea of sharing my faith felt heroic. But it was very foreign to me, until I met CCO on campus when I went to university.
I went to a university with a thriving CCO ministry. However, every time there was an opportunity to get involved, I said, “No”. I had chosen to place Christ at the center of my life, but I had other priorities – namely my future career – which were more important to me than evangelization. Opportunities to become more involved often conflicted with my aspirations toward my future public service career. When CCO missions were happening, I was working in full-time CO-OP jobs or studying in summer school. Additionally, I thought God was calling me to serve the Church by being a witness of the faith in the workplace so I worked hard to build up the skillset, experience, and references needed to start a career.
While at CCO’s Rise Up conference, a speaker Melissa Westgeest challenged us to become “Protagonists in the story of salvation; to become leading characters in the history of the Church”. She explained that the hero of a story, the protagonist, is thrust into action by events happening around them, making them a leading character in their story. Melissa’s words felt like God touched my heart and said to me, “This is what I want you to do; this is where I’m calling you to be”. I immediately knew I wanted to work for CCO.
I visited CCO’s Human Resources table and discovered a position at the National Headquarters which seemed tailor-made for me. The job requirements for the Coordinator with Stewardship & Development spoke to various skills I had developed from working in the federal public service, municipal governments, and volunteering in a Member of Parliament’s office.
I turned to God and asked if this is what he had in store for me. I had several reservations of working for CCO. I was afraid of telling my parents about the position because I thought they wouldn’t see working for CCO as a “real” job. Yet when I told my parents, they were very excited for me and said they would support me “110%”. I was very uneasy about working in the “fundraising” department because I didn’t have a passion for fundraising and found the whole process unexciting. Meeting in person with Lindsay Rigby to talk about the department helped me see where I would fit into the team and where my skills would enhance our fundraising efforts. It became abundantly clear that God was calling me to work for CCO. When I was offered the position, I immediately said “Yes!”
Even now, one year later, it amazes me I am working for CCO. I never thought being a missionary was “for me”. I thought I was going to spend my life working in the secular world and witnessing to the faith. Clearly God has shown me where I can best serve the Church: he has called me to be a protagonist in the story of proclaiming the Gospel simply and clearly by working for Catholic Christian Outreach.
Joseph Murphy is currently finishing up his first year as a CCO intern in the Stewardship & Development department. He is a graduate from the University of Ottawa and is originally from Trenton, Ontario.