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 Marshall Fike, a first-year missionary from Manhattan, Kansas to learn more about the initiative and how he became attracted to its mission.
Q: Can you describe the hospitality you received when you arrived in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia?
We were received very openly by the Archbishop, Fr. DeLacy, the offices working with ministry to young adults, and so many members of the Catholic community in Philadelphia!
Q: How did you receive God’s Call to be a Missionary with the Culture Project?
During my last couple of years in college, I started to recognize a call from God – a movement of my heart – to give back what I had received in college in terms of my faith. This is a call we all receive as Christians, but for me, this call came at a time where I began to recognize that chastity had become a theme of my faith life and that God was calling me to share this part of my story in some way. Then, I was introduced to the Culture Project during my senior year at Kansas State University!
Q: What is the greatest challenge and the greatest joy in the work you are doing?
My greatest challenge has been adjusting to life away from my college friends and navigating each of those relationships as they evolve. My greatest joy has been seeing other young adults who are joyously pursuing chastity in the young adult community and in the Culture Project! It is also a great joy to share this message of chastity and showing young people how to live fully alive!
Q: What are some common questions you hear from young people?
At high schools, we get the most questions about abortion and same-sex attraction. This generation is uniquely oriented toward justice and love for their peers. The conversations we have are a great opportunity to speak about how we can treat others in a way that reflects the love of God.
Q: What advice would you give to parents based on your interactions with teens and the current culture?
Parents: if you are hesitant to have conversations with your kids about the topics of sex, abortion, etc., know that you are not alone! However, having these conversations and introducing these awkward topics is important. You are the first line in the formation of your children and you can set them up for success! Don’t be afraid – God is with you!
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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