Enjoy this exclusive interview with Catholic evangelist Todd Lemieux, founder of The Sainthood Project and co-author of 100 Things Every Catholic Teen Should Know
Tell us a little about yourself and your ministry.
I’ve been married for six years and my wife and I have two daughters with a third child due in May. I’ve been involved in youth and young adult ministry and music ministry for over ten years. In the last year after a lot of prayer and some really trying experiences I founded the sainthood project as I realized that the biggest obstacle to my own sanctification and hence my ability to change the world is myself. If I can change my attuitude toward Christ then I can impact the people around me with the Grace of God. Then I thought, “what would happen if 1000 people did this?” That was the birth of the sainthood project and the sainthood challenge. A way for people to recognize that they are the biggest obstacle to their own sanctification and the renewal of the world for the Kingdom. Of course there are no shortcuts and no one method for anyone, but saints need to reject the seven deadly sins, embrace virtue, prayer, and the fruits and gifts of the spirit. That is what I focus on.
Is ministry your “day job”?
The sainthood project became my full time job in June. I also help out part time with a parish locally. My wife is a kindergarten teacher in the public school system so that is how I am able to do this. I’ve been really blessed.
How did you end up becoming so involved in the Faith? (What testimony do you have to share?)
I was involved in a dynamic youth ministry program in high school but when I went to college, I had a scholarship for acting and the environment didn’t support my faith. I lapsed. I really grappled with the “big questions” and it was really through love that I returned to the Church. I didn’t know what love was but I knew that the Church claimed that God was love. It was a Thursday when I stumbled into a Church for some reason only to discover it was Holy Thursday. When the Eucharist processed through the Church it hit me that it was really the Body of Christ. That was what I was missing. Slowly I came back to the faith, thanks to the prayers of my parents and some really good people. I was introduced to Theology of the Body, and dedicated myself to serving youth and leading them to Christ. The truth set me free in so many ways! I still struggle so much but I continue to be renewed in the Eucharist!
What is the Sainthood Project?
The sainthood project exists to help people desire and pursue sainthood with their whole beings. After completing the sainthood challenge, I really hope that people can start their own “sainthood projects” locally. When we work with the grace of God we can change the world! Here locally I am working with a young adult group, working with baptismal prep and marriage prep. I also help youth ministers locally with their own ministry. We are currently registering to become a non-profit so that we can financially support those who need help starting up locally. Right now we need to get an office (other than my kitchen counter).
How long has it been running, how many people are involved, and where did you get the idea for it?
The sainthood project started at the beginning of May. There are over 1000 fans on Facebook and probably over 100 people internationally (Portugal) that have told me they are doing the Challenge. Youth groups, confirmation groups, married couples, and even priests have written me and told me that it has been effective for them. There is actually a parish that is running it as an adult small group program. It is incredibly adaptable.
What’s your favorite subject in theology?
Scripture. I just love the Word. I also love morality as well because it is so completely simply and UN-complicated.
What questions do you get asked most during speaking engagements?
“What was it like to donate a kidney?” It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but at the same time it was a cross that I didn’t expect.
What message do you feel God has especially entrusted you to proclaim?
Sainthood is for everyone. You simply must desire it. At every moment. Every day. It isn’t complicated, you don’t have to know a lot. God isn’t looking for the coolest, the smartest, and the best. He’s looking for you and me to simply give Him everything.
To take the sainthood pledge or support Todd’s ministry, visit his website: http://www.sainthoodandsurrender.com
You can also watch one of Todd’s talks about Theology of the Body here.