Even thought I’m not an executive with a briefcase, I am Catholic, and so I truly enjoyed reading, and then reviewing, Randy Hain’s new book The Catholic Briefcase, in my January Catholic Post column. I was able to have a Q&A with Randy, and the publisher has shared two copies of this great resource to give away. You can enter to win a copy of this book by commenting on this post, and one other, giveaway-specific post. Good luck to all entering the giveaway. And thank you, Randy Hain, for so thoroughly answering all of my questions about your helpful new book!
Q. Tell Catholic Post readers a little more about you and your work.
Nancy-it is a pleasure to speak with you! My family and I converted to the Catholic Church in 2006. Prior to completing my RCIA program in 2006, I went through a life-changing personal conversion in the fall of 2005 when I finally stopped trying to be in charge of my life and surrendered to Christ. That conversion and surrender (which is an ongoing process) has been the catalyst for how I live my life today as a husband, father, business leader and writer. I am passionate about helping our fellow Catholics lead fully integrated lives, centered in Christ. This means being authentically Catholic in all aspects of our lives, especially at work and in the public square. I have started and still lead a number of ministries that are devoted to this effort. My writing and speaking reflect my candid observations as a Catholic in the business world, as a married man (17 years to Sandra) and the father of two sons (Alex and Ryan). I felt led to write the book to help others with practical steps to fully integrate their Catholicism with the place where they will spend the majority of their waking adult lives-the workplace.
Q. Many people might consider that with its title, The Catholic Briefcase is only for business people or other “leadership,” but I thought it had great suggestions to infuse a Catholic culture into everything we do and a range of professions. Who was your intended audience for the book?
Great question! Quite frankly, I wrote the book for everyone. I have had a number of stay-at-home-moms, retirees and students share with me that they have found valuable lessons in the book. It has also been surprising to me how many Protestants have read the book and enjoyed it! I write from my perspective as a Catholic in the workplace, but the lessons and stories in the book really connect well with everyone, regardless of your career or vocation. I also was very intentional about writing a book that meets you where you are. Some of us are quiet prayer warriors and others courageously lead the fight for our faith in the public square. There is something here for everyone.
Q. You have a website, The Integrated Catholic Life as an online ministry with a similar, but broader, focus than the book. How do you see the “online” life for Catholics as opportunity and also a challenge?
Deacon Mike Bickerstaff and I started the Integrated Catholic Life eMagazine (www.integratedcatholiclife.org) as a way to share the work of outstanding Catholic writers faithful to the Magisterium, with a broad audience. The website has exploded in popularity because we think people are hungry to learn about our beautiful Catholic faith. They want the Truth and they are seeking ways to apply it in their daily lives. The great opportunity for Catholics is having access to such good content from almost anywhere. The challenge is to be careful about becoming addicted to technology and our often compulsive need to be on the Internet. We also need silence, peace and quiet in our lives. I worry that too much “noise” is hurting the prayer lives of our fellow Catholics.
Q. You recommend Catholic business networking as a great way to share our faith. How would you help broaden that to people not strictly in a business setting (such as at-home moms)?
In our wired world with so much time being devoted to online connecting (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) we must be mindful of the need to interact with our fellow human beings as much as possible. I strongly encourage Catholics to spend time with others who will encourage, educate and challenge them in ways that lead to strengthening their faith. Business people have ample opportunities over coffee or lunch to meet, but stay-at-home-moms and others can also seek out others through the parish network to gather together. Our parish has a number of outlets such as the Catholic Mom’s group that does a book study at our parish once a month and Christ Renews His Parish (CRHP) which is a twice a year in-parish retreat for men and women. When all else fails, we can simply introduce ourselves to our fellow parishioners after Mass and build friendships that way. The bottom line is we can’t lose the vital human element to connecting by exclusively interacting online.
Q. Any books or writing projects in your near future you would like to share with Catholic Post readers?
I am currently writing my second book for Liguori Publications titled “Along the Way: A Convert’s Journey in the Catholic Church” which is due to be released at the end of 2012. The book shares my experiences and lessons learned as a Catholic since I joined the Church. It will address almost every aspect of our Catholic faith, where I have stumbled and struggled and the powerful lessons I have learned. I hope converts and lifelong Catholics will find it helpful. I continue to write a blog every Thursday called “Surrender and Strength” for the Integrated Catholic Life.
Q. Is there anything else you wish I would have asked, or would like to share?
I hope people enjoy the book and I encourage them to tell their friends about it. I welcome feedback and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Readers, to enter the giveaway of one of two copies of Randy Hain’s The Catholic Briefcase, just leave a comment here. I’ll do another giveaway-specific post, and you can enter there as well.