Catholic Vitamin T: Teamwork Pt 1

Our delightful guests on this episode of Catholic Vitamins are Joel and Lisa Schmidt. I can’t share enough reasons why I think most of us would love to be their neighbors; we’d love to be in their parish; we’d love to be in a discussion group or faith formation program with them.

Here’s some information they provided about themselves:

We (Joel and Lisa Schmidt) met on a blind date in Ames, IA when we were both graduate students at Iowa State University. Lisa was Catholic, and Joel was searching. RCIA took care of that, and we were soon married. Since then, we have always sought to live out the truth as best we knew it. However, you can’t apply what you don’t know, and the problem was, once RCIA ended, our formation essentially stopped.


So, what next? We involved ourselves in many different ministries within our parish. Lisa: Eucharistic adoration, cantor, SoundTrack (Lisa’s praise band), RCIA team, parish council. Joel: Eucharistic adoration, RCIA catechist, extraordinary minister of holy communion, lector, Knights of Columbus. In addition, we were involved with a married couples small group faith-sharing movement called Teams of Our Lady. We were keeping busy doing good works and had a solid spiritual community, but we weren’t really growing in our faith. Then something happened.


Lisa took a job with a 45-minute commute and started listening to our brand new Catholic radio station, 1150 AM KWKY, out of Des Moines. Six months later, we moved to Des Moines, and now Joel was filling his long commute back and forth to Ames with Catholic radio. It was almost like RCIA was back in session! Most influential among the programs we heard were Catholic Answers and Christ is the Answer with Fr. John Riccardo. Catholic Answers armed us with greater knowledge about the Catholic faith, and Fr. Riccardo inspired us live and share it. However, after moving to Des Moines, we found ourselves adrift in a large new parish, missing the spiritual community we previously had formed in Ames.

God intervened again.

First, our daughter Lucy was born. Any parent knows that your children are always watching you and imitate everything you do. It’s kind of like walking around with a mirror in which you always have the opportunity to see the worst of yourself, which is good motivation to be the best of yourself all the time. Second, we both attended a Christ Renews His Parish retreat. We can’t recommend this program, or a similar one, highly enough. Our hearts were truly set on fire for God! We also became acutely aware that a lot of Catholics are hungry for the truth. However, in the absence of that we fill ourselves up with other things which may entertain but do not fulfill. Further, we discovered that between RCIA and Catholic radio, we were actually better catechized than most of the Catholics we knew. In conversation and small group discussions, we found ourselves constantly defending Catholic doctrine and teaching to ‘practicing’ Catholics!


And so was born our little apostolate. We are educated people, but we are not theologians, philosophers, or apologists. Simply, we’re lay Catholics who God has called to share what we have learned and continue to learn about living the Catholic faith with other lay Catholics. We hope to educate and inspire you to develop and practice your Catholic faith day-by-day, moment-by-moment and make the transition from Sunday Catholic to Practicing Catholic!

A little more about ‘The Practicing Catholic’


A guy gets into a cab in New York City and asks the cab driver, “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?”  The cab driver replies, “Practice, practice, practice.”


This old, amusing pun underscores one of life’s universal truths. If you want to become the best you can possibly be at something, regardless of your level of God-given talent, you have to work at it; you have to practice.  How many of us can recall the countless hours of practice spent by ourselves or our children in the classroom, in the music/choir room, or on the athletic field?  Although each pursuit has its own specific goals and rewards, the real return on all those hours invested in practice in our youth is learning this truth, so we can apply it in our lives as adults.


For example, when we refer to someone as a physician, we are implying that the person possesses the requisite education, degrees, and certifications that he or she is qualified to practice. However, when we describe someone as a practicing physician, we are suggesting much more  By including practicing in the description, we are saying that the person also works regularly as a physician, thereby gaining practical experience, which presumably develops his or her skill. Contrast this with a non-practicing physician who pursues a different career path but completes the minimum continuing education requirement to retain a medical license. Which one would you want caring for your health or the health of a loved one?


So what does it mean to be a practicing Catholic? We tend to think of a practicing Catholic as one who regularly attends Sunday Mass. Yet, the above physician who fulfills only the minimum requirement is considered to be non-practicing.  This underscores a fundamental disconnect when it actually comes to practicing our Catholic faith. But, why should we bother ourselves with more?


What is our goal as Catholics, anyway?


Sainthood:  Following the Beatitudes, in which Jesus essentially states what it means to be a Christian, He tells us, “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). We are perfected by the daily practice of living out our Catholic faith in every moment, in every situation, no matter where we are. If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. (Luke 9:23). Heaven is our Carnegie Hall, and no one has ever gotten there by practicing only one hour per week.


Practice, practice, practice!”

Well – there’s a lot more to cover about the Schmidt’s. They are involved in the deacon formation program in their diocese. And they are in the process of starting a ministry for couples who have experienced a miscarriage. Learn all about them and their great hearts on this episode of Catholic Vitamins.

The lovely lady whose picture may have appeared on your iPod screen (if things worked as intended) is our newest contributor to Catholic Vitamins. She’s Theresa Doyle Nelson and here is some information about her.

Theresa Doyle-Nelson is the author of two books:  Saints of the Bible and More Saints of the Bible. She has also written for a variety of Catholic resources including Liguorian, Canticle, and Catholic Exchange.

Theresa was raised in the Rochester area of New York State and is a graduate of Saint Bonaventure University, also in New York. She has taught elementary school in the past, but came to enjoy the craft of writing while raising her three sons. Theresa’s favorite topics to research, explore, and write about are the saints, people from the Bible, and Sacred Art.

Theresa has been married to Chad Nelson for 25 years.  They lived in a variety of wonderful places while Chad was an active duty Marine, but now enjoy being settled in the Texas Hill Country. Their two oldest sons are in their twenties and are making their way in the world, while their youngest is a teenager, still living at home and keeping Theresa and Chad busy!

Theresa discusses saints from Scripture on a blog, a Facebook page, and Twitter. You can learn more about Theresa’s books and access some of her articles and online activities through her website:

Our closing music was courtesy of a dear friend of Catholic Vitamins (and Deacon Tom & Dee Fox). She’s Renee Bondi and she was a guest some episodes back on Catholic Vitamins. The song we played was YOU ARE THE ONE from Renee’s album INNER VOICE. Thank you Renee – a blessing in our lives.

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