The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is pleased to welcome five missionaries from the Culture Project for service in our local Church. They are Amber Charles, Marshall Fike, Lynsey Lucas, Tim McNeil, and Nicky Orozco.
The Culture Project was founded by Ms. Cristina Barba Whalen, a graduate of Archbishop John Carroll High School. It is an initiative of young people set out to restore culture through the experience of virtue.
Five full-time Culture Project missionaries will build on the work of the inaugural Philadelphia missionary team that arrived in 2022. The new cohort will dedicate the coming year to educating young people about the importance of self-respect and living chaste lives. Their work is rooted in Catholic social teaching and Saint John Paul II’s legendary work, Theology of the Body.
Catholic Philly recently connected with from Lynsey Lucas, a first year missionary from Houston, Texas to learn more about the initiative and how she became attracted to its mission.
Q: Can you describe the hospitality you received when you arrived in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia?
It was incredible! We were so warmly welcomed by the Archbishop’s Vicar of Faith Formation for Youth and Young Adults, our chaplain, and our Regional Council. Everyone in the Church of Philadelphia has gone above and beyond to welcome, support, and encourage our missionary work..
Q: How did you receive God’s Call to be a Missionary with the Culture Project?
The Lord has transformed my life in a deeper way through learning about Saint John Paul II’s Theology of the Body in the last two years. God brought me to the Culture Project at Texas A&M during the spring of 2022. Culture Project’s central missions of Holy Community and spreading the truth of Theology of the Body spoke to my heart’s main desires. I felt invited by the Lord to grow in these truths, learn how to share them, and be healed in deeper ways during this year of mission.
Q: What is the greatest challenge and the greatest joy in the work you are doing?
The greatest joy for me is in getting to stir the desires of young people for pure, authentic love and inviting them to the only way in which it can be found—through living the virtue of chastity. The greatest challenge for me has been being away from my friends and family during this mission year.
Q: What are some common questions you hear from young people?
“How can I help end dehumanization?” “How do you know if you are being loved in a relationship?” “How a woman in a difficult pregnancy is being empowered and not more hurt by keeping the child?” “What are some physical/emotional boundaries you can set in your relationships for chastity?”
Q: What advice would you give to parents based on your interactions with teens and the current culture?
I would encourage all parents to be vulnerable in starting more conversations with teens about their desires, their bodies, and what God’s plan for sex, marriage, and sexual desire is. Anything that they are not learning from you, they are learning from the culture and their peers. Those sources open the door for a lot of counterfeit versions of love right now. Teach them specifically how to love in different types of relationships and the difference between acts of lust and acts of love. They really do want the truth and want you to talk to them about it!!
To learn more about the Culture Project International, please visit https://thecultureproject.org/. To learn more about the Culture Project in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, https://archphila.org/thecultureproject/.
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