St. John Paul II’s Vision Inspired Prominent Anglican To Found Center for Family Life

First, Tory Baucum joined the Benedictine Oblates. Then he join the Church. Then he joined Benedictine College. He is pictured above with Archbishop Joseph Naumann and JP De Gance, with whom he serves families in Northeast Kansas.

How do you Transform Culture in America? By strengthening the family. And how do you strengthen families?

“Formation, Restoration and Exploration,” says Tory Baucum (right), director of Benedictine College’s Center for Family Life. The new center has been doing just that — working with students on campus to tutor Atchison kids, working with 10 parishes throughout the Archdiocese, hosting families from across the United States, and going to the roots of John Paul’s vision of the family in Poland. “I have met really extraordinary people at Benedictine College,” said Tory Baucum. “This center is poised to make a real difference.”

The center was formed after members of the board of directors, faculty, staff, and subject experts met to determine the best ways to Transform Culture in America. St. John Paul II’s apostolic exhortation The Church in America became a focal point for plans. The document calls for American colleges to “train truly Christian leaders in the different spheres of human activity” and stresses the family. St. John Paul II has said “The future of civilization passes by way of the family.”

The John Paul II Fellows program forms students to be able to build strong families. Under the Center’s direction and mentorship, Benedictine College students go out to serve at-risk students in local public schools. The objective is to be living examples and teachers of the World Youth Alliance’s “Human Dignity Curriculum,” delivering universal truths in a way that a secular population can receive.

“Central to these principles is the belief freedom enables human excellence,” said Tory. “The Fellows instill the foundation that persons are subjects, never objects, and that students should pursue true friendships, which is the kind that help them accomplish excellence.” Students are responding. “This program has added a whole different element to the meaning of scholarship for me,” said Nicole Hraban, a junior from Windsor, Colo. “Once I stepped outside of myself and my bubble, I was able to better understand the communities’ wants and needs. And by working alongside the people who know Atchison the best, we are able to inspire real change and genuine progress within the community that we serve.”

Family Week at the college forms married and family life for participants from several states. From May 22-28 more than 30 adult participants and more than 80 children converged on the campus of Benedictine College for a week of fun, bonding, learning and full living. The week was designed by veterans of the John Paul II Institute in Rome and brings a rich European model to the states for the first time. The week is “a true experience of an authentic Catholic vision for marriage and family life,” said Tory.

“Fighting back against the secular narrative about family life, and giving intentional couples time and family activities to help refresh and restore their marriage.”

Poland outreach helps explore the depths of the Church’s teaching. Tory and the Fellows planned an immersive dive into the history and culture of Poland, where John Paul II developed his love of the family and was formed into the saint he would become. Unfortunately for the students, the overseas trip was cancelled because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which sent all of Europe into uncertain times.

However, Tory decided to make the trip alone, representing Joseph Naumann, Archbishop of Kansas City in Kansas, in a visit to the Diocese of Warsaw.

There he experienced the beauty of the domestic church in action, as Catholics opened their doors to accept millions of refugees fleeing the terrors of war in Ukraine. In fact, in meeting with Bishop Michal Janocha, Auxiliary Bishop of Warsaw, Tory was impressed to see that the bishop, himself, was housing a Ukrainian refugee family in his own home.

Tory’s writings on the visit proved immensely popular in Poland, and he was invited to return in June for a government-sponsored forum on developing policies toward a long-term solution for the crisis. “Poland is leading Europe in the Ukrainian refugee crisis and the domestic church leaders are leading Poland. Benedictine College’s Center for Family Life has been invited to coach these leaders,” Tory said. It was a deep love for Catholic principles of family life that led a renowned Anglican pastor of 30 years from his prestigious post of one of the Six Preachers of Canterbury Cathedral into the Catholic Church, and to the first directorship of the new Center for Family Life at Benedictine College.

Dr. Tory Baucum served as pastor of Episcopal parishes throughout the country and taught aspiring preachers at Asbury Theological Seminary. His 2014 appointment as one of the Six Preachers of Canterbury Cathedral opened opportunities for Tory to meet and learn from influential figures not only in his denomination, but also from other Christian faiths in ecumenical cooperation. Significantly for him, Baucum met Don Renzo Bonetti, founder of the Italian Movement Mistero Grande, in Rome.

Through that relationship and others, coupled with countless hours of study, Tory became convinced that Saint John Paul’s vision for the domestic Church, fortified by the saint’s unique 20th century Polish experience, was the answer to the disunity and chaos poisoning relationships in the world today.

With help from Atchison’s Benedictines, he became an Oblate of the order. Then, through preparation provided through a dear friend, Fr. Paul Scalia, son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Tory and his wife, Elizabeth, were received into full communion with the Catholic Church on Easter Sunday, 2020. It was Fr. Scalia who provided a second assist to Tory, recommending that he explore a newly formed leadership position he had learned about in Kansas — which also just happens to be the state of Tory’s childhood.

The Center has ambitious dreams for the implementation of John Paul’s vision, but Tory believes it’s the most important mission of our time. He saw in the Catholic Church the one institution willing to consistently lay it all on the line for the family, and that was enough for him to change his world forever. Now he’s dedicated to a life of training the young people of Benedictine College to change their world.

10 Quotes from Jared Zimmerer on Leadership

Jared Zimmerer spoke about leadership to the Gregorian Fellows Leadership Program at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, on Nov. 14. Zimmerer is the Senior Director and Dean of Pastoral Fellows at the Word on Fire Institute. He holds a master’s degree in Theology from Holy Apostles College and a PhD in Humanities from Faulkner University. He and his wife Jessica live in North Texas with their six children.  He is frequently seen on Word on Fire’s YouTube series of videos about the Catholic faith featuring the organization’s founder, Bishop Robert Barron. What follows are excerpts of his talk.

1: Leadership Mindset

“What makes the difference between a calm, cool, collected leader and one in a constant state of fear is mindset. Our life is often suffering, and our job is to choose what to do with it.”

2: Mexican Martyrs

“I grew up in a very very very devout Catholic family. But my lowercase-g ‘god’ was sports. If Arnold Schwarzenegger told me to eat oil I would have done that. If anything could improve my jump shot, I would do that. I had an opportunity to go to Mexico City with my father, and I visited the shrine of Miguel Pro. For the first time I knew what faith is and the sacrifice it entails. And then everything started to make sense to me. Miguel Pro really hit me hard.”

3: Lead Like Jesus

“As a leader, your personal holiness and your relationship with Christ will reflect in your leadership. Christ was the perfect leader, strong when needed, soft at other times, always willing to tell the truth and allow his apostles some freedom.”

4: Sports and God

“After those first years of starting a family and finishing a college, I started writing and speaking about my love of sports and fitness and how it fits with the Christian tradition. I had this love of sports, and I began to match it with the tradition of ascetism in the Church. I think the modern ideal of sports is incomplete, but that there is quite a bit of spiritual growth that can come from that.”

5: Control What You Can

“So often we think of what we cannot control, things like other people’s attitudes or perceptions, or we look too far into the future. Rather, choose to be objective.”

6: Hand a Drowning Man a Baby

“I grew up in this tradition of hard work. We were not allowed to be lazy. I worked at State Farm insurance after I got married, and after work there, I would work at a movie theater cleaning toilets, and study in what time I had. And then we got pregnant, and it’s like that Jim Gaffigan joke, where you feel like you’re drowning and someone hands you a baby.”

7: How to Make Challenges into Opportunities

“It takes a lot of practice and discipline to see a challenge as an opportunity. You have to learn to overcome your primal emotions of flight or flight. Yet each time we are able to control our reactions, it becomes a habit, and a virtuous habit.”

8: Word on Fire Origins

“In 2014 I had the very blessed opportunity to meet Cardinal Francis George. He’s one of those people who could read your soul and not judge you. At this time I was still doing parish work. He challenged us to ask, ‘What is Word on Fire going to be like in 100 years?’ With then-Father Robert Barron we started going over the Acts of Apostles together on the phone. We started listening to this grand vision of what he wanted Word on Fire to be. Then, in December of 2016, I get a call, ‘Jared I want you to do it.’”

9: Form Yourself in Prayer

“The way I have found this is through quiet, meditative prayer, maybe through a guided meditation. I really like the guided meditations available on Hallow. In addition to this I would highly recommend daily exercise. Some kind of physical exercise that pushes your boundaries, something that pushes your limits and forces you to see that you aren’t made of glass. They give you an enlarged sense of Providence.”

10: Form Your Team in Prayer

“I encourage you to pray with your team. When you pray with your volunteers, when you pray with those who work around you and under you, you get to have that level of relationship so that when those times come when you have to have a difficult conversation, you understand each other and where you are going.”

Raven Teaches Respect for Veterans

Thank a veteran in person this Veterans Day.

That’s the advice of Shane Koehr a junior at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, involved in the school’s ROTC program.

“I talked to one guy recently from Veterans of Foreign Wars who fought in Vietnam. He was flying missions over Vietnam, and he lost most of his buddies in the war,” he said. “From talking with these veterans, I’ve learned that Veterans Day is about a lot more than just about the people who served – it’s about recognizing each individual and how they were affected.”

Koehr is from Warrenton, Va., and majors in mechanical engineering.

He hopes to combine both via his major and his ROTC training to serve his country. “After I graduate, I want to get in an aviation unit in the Army Reserves so I can fly helicopters and serve our country as well,” he said.

Military service runs in Koehr’s family.

“Three of my brothers are in the Navy: one of them is the WSO on F/A-18 Super hornets, one of them is a Navy Chaplain and the other one flies P-8s,” he said. “Two of my brothers served in the Army: one in the Army Corps of Engineers, and the other one served in the Medical Corps. My brother-in-law is also in the Marines, so there’s a lot of history in the military with my family,” he said.

Shane hopes to see veterans honored not just on Veteran’s Day but all year long.

“There’s a lot of resources for veterans, but there are not nearly enough, especially for a lot of enlisted soldiers who have gone to hell and back for our country,” he said. “For how much they’ve done for us, we really need to give back. I’m hoping that as Veterans Day continues it brings more awareness to that and more support to that.”

Danielle Brown on Transforming Race Relations in the Church

“Your job must be difficult, because, you know, most of the Catholic Church in the United States is white,” Danielle Browns’s friend told her.

When she heard that, “I flinched,” said Brown.

She told the story at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, last May. She joined the Board of Directors at the college and was on campus for her first Board meeting in October.

Brown is a lawyer, but the job her friend was referring to was her role as Associate Director of the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism for the U.S. bishops.

“I told my friend that his perceptions were incorrect and that depending upon where a person lives, the Church in the U.S. can appear much less diverse than it is in reality,” Brown said.

She reminded her friend of all the non-white Catholics in America — Hispanics, Asians and Pacific Islanders, Native Americans, Africans from many African nations, African Americans, Haitians, and Chaldean Americans.

Then she asked students where the “Catholic means white” perceptions of her friend come from? “Perhaps his hometown, where his faith community was almost exclusively made up of people of European American ancestry. Nonetheless, I couldn’t help but wonder, were his perceptions formed by the often-monochromatic face of the New Evangelization?”

She wants to make sure that the full blessings of the teachings of the Church are available to all — including the theology of the body. Unfortunately, she says, when she asks students who has heard about St. John Paul II’s liberating teaching about the family and human sexuality, she finds mostly white students raise their hands.

“If we truly believe,” said Brown, “that the Catholic Church is the surest and best, and key to everlasting life, and soul-changing and soul-saving grace — out of slavery and into freedom — how much does one have to hate the other not to tell them?”

The Transforming Culture in America plan at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, declares that, “The global Catholic Church which embraces the world’s races and cultures is our model for diversity. The college will develop initiatives to attract students, faculty, and staff from all backgrounds and cultures who can benefit from and contribute to its mission.”

The plan launched the Freedom Fellows program that provides full tuition scholarships to first generation students, usually black and minority students. The program was developed in conjunction with Danielle Brown, as well as Harvard’s Dr. Jacqueline Rivers and her husband Rev. Eugene Rivers, who lead the Seymour Institute.

On campus, Brown spoke about “Open Wide Our Hearts,” the U.S. bishops’ 2018 pastoral letter against racism, which was issued  in response to an increase in racist ideology in America.

The principles contained in that letter and within the mission of the Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism became all the more crucial with the onslaught of challenging events in 2020 and beyond.

Brown directed attendees to numerous books, educational videos, and online resources to learn more about the Catholic Church’s teachings on and response to racism; she emphasized love for Jesus Christ as the motivation for and guide in efforts towards racial justice; and she challenged the Benedictine Community to rise above the divisive and alienating attitudes that are all-too-common in today’s society.

“What we have to do is resist the demonic urge to fight hate with hate and instead answer sinfulness with condemnation,” said Brown. “The answer to shame is not more shame. The challenge will be convincing ourselves and others that the power of Christ really is enough to answer the challenges of our day.”

From State College Leader To Small College Leader

Gabrielle Koval has a great story of how she chose Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.

Actually, she says it’s a great story about how Benedictine College chose her.

Gabby is a senior Theology major from Atlanta, Ga. She described how she met the college’s president, Stephen D. Minnis a few years ago:

“I was dropping my youngest brother off for Athlete Move-In Day, and you know how President Minnis comes out and waits to greet everyone in line? He comes over to us and we lower the window, and he’s like ‘Hey! Okay, who’s going to school here?’ And I say, ‘Oh my brother Ted, he’s moving in!’ and he goes, ‘Well why don’t you go to school here?’ and I said, ‘Uhh, I go to Georgia State.’ And he puts his hand on the window and looks at me as the church bells start to ring, and he goes, ‘Go home, pack up your things, and come back.’ And I was like, “Okay .. definitely… yeah!’ And I think he could tell I was kind of put off by it, and he looks at me and says, ‘Go home, grab your stuff, start your classes. This is where you’re meant to be.’

“So as I dropped Ted off, I was just watching all these priests walk around, talking to students, and everyone just looked so nice and people that I didn’t even know were saying hi to me. And I went home and called Admissions and was like, ‘Random question, President Minnis said if I called, I could come back and start classes on Monday.’

“Long story short, I packed up all my stuff, came home, started classes, and switched my major. “Best decision of my life.”

Ever since that day, she said, the college’s mission of community, faith, and scholarship, changed her life. Koval had been a leader at Georgia State, heading up a campus civics group. Now she is a leader at Benedictine College, getting ready for a trip to a conference about ethics and culture at Notre Dame University.

“It’s funny because I think about who I would have been if I would’ve stayed at Georgia State. I was a practicing Catholic, but being here has absolutely transformed my life, spiritually, the friendships I’m in, how I view God, how accessible Adoration is, and how amazing it is to be surrounded by like-minded people who push you further to Christ – it is a chosen place in a lot of ways.”

Center for Integral Ecology Hosts Conversations on Care for Our Common Home

In his encyclical Laudato Si’, Pope Francis called for conversations between believers about how we are shaping the future of our planet. Over Benedictine’s Fall Break, the Center for Integral Ecology provided students an opportunity to come together and have these conversations, based on the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Co-sponsored with the Newman Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture at University of Nebraska Lincoln (UNL), the Center for Integral Ecology hosted a colloquium weekend on the topic of Religion and Ecology titled “Recovering Integrity of Life in Ourselves and in Creation.” Eleven students, about half from Benedictine and half from nearby universities, spent the weekend discussing the Church’s teaching on care for Creation.

The students prepared by reading works from writers such as Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI), Pope Francis, contemporary scholar Christopher Thompson, and novelist Wendell Berry, all of whom provided unique perspectives on the topic. The weekend was filled with sessions of discussion, facilitated by staff from both Benedictine and UNL.

Center co-director Dr. Matthew Ramage, one of the primary facilitators of the weekend, said that conversations were both deep and lively, adding that “there was never a dull moment over the course of the weekend’s discussions—both the formal ones and those that took place over breaks.”

Conversations about the intersection of Religion and Ecology drew students from all backgrounds. Ramage observed that “it was very unique to hear insights being brought to bear from individuals majoring in fields from theology to engineering to English, psychology, evolutionary biology, nursing, and beyond.” One of those students, a Benedictine sophomore and aspiring biology teacher Leah Mages, reflected on the weekend, saying that she hopes to encourage her students someday “to think more about the environment around them, how to take care of it in an integral way, and to cherish it better.”

One of Mages’s biggest takeaways from the discussions was the need to resist, as Pope Francis terms it, throwaway culture: “We cannot be drawn into the consumerist, throwaway culture, but rather must act more generationally—meaning embracing a way of producing and preserving for our own and future generations as a cycle. We cannot think indifferently about this Earth we live on, but must respect the dignity of how we use the resources the Earth gives us and how we give back.”

Ramage hopes that this weekend will help the Center for Integral Ecology continue to make an impact on Benedictine’s campus and beyond in several ways. He said that “the experience served to demonstrate to students that integral ecology—care for the created order as well as the most vulnerable humans within it—is a vital feature of Catholicism that merits serious attention and which can be addressed with academic rigor in a uniquely interdisciplinary way.” He also hopes that “this event is not just a one-time affair but that we can replicate it in the future for the benefit of more students—and thereby ultimately for the good of the rest of us.”

Center Director Co-Authors New Book on Church’s Solemnities

Dr. Denis McNamara, associate professor and Executive Director for the Center for Beauty and Culture, recently published a new book! Titled Solemnities: Celebrating a Tapestry of Divine Beauty, it is a beautiful heirloom providing inspiring background information on each of the 17 Solemnities in the Church calendar. It includes stunning, full-page pictures of Catholic sacred art and ways to bring the Solemnities to life in your heart and home. For this book, McNamara partnered with Christopher Carstens, co-host of The Liturgy Guys Podcast, and Alexis Kazimira Kutarna, liturgy and liturgical music expert.

Here is an excerpt from the book:

“Though Christ is as tall as a two-and-a-half-story building, his face is kind. Though he clearly has the power over life and death, he is calm and ordered. His power shows the strength of wrath, which is not moody anger, but God’s desire to set things right and restore the world by defeating the power of death. Christ’s Last Judgment, then, is good news for the world — at last the application of the restoration wrought by the Paschal Mystery is complete. Here Christ’s unquestionably peaceful perfection combines with his dynamic salvific activity.”

You can pre-order your copy from Ascension Press here.

Imitating John Paul II as Scholar and Servant

Because Pope Saint John Paul II and Atchison, Kansas, are an increasingly common pairing, Benedictine senior Olivia Shingledecker has grown to love both through her experience in the John Paul II Fellowship program. Hailing from North Carolina, she has found a new home on the bluffs of the Missouri River.

As a Fellow of the Center for Family Life, Shingledecker has devoted much of her time to building up students from suffering families in and around the Atchison community. During her time at Benedictine studying philosophy and theology, she has gotten to participate in what she calls a “richly diverse environment of learning” and take advantage of the wealth of knowledge that her professors provide.

“The John Paul II Fellowship has enhanced my experience of community both by giving me a stable community with the other fellows and by encouraging interaction with the Atchison community. Working with at-risk children in Atchison has opened my eyes to the difficult experience of many locals in the town I love so much and has given me a desire to partner with them! I also enjoy the aspect of being able to share with my fellow students how the faith penetrates our lives on a weekly basis.”

“This fellowship has enhanced my experience of scholarship as we read and discuss ideas together, notice them in our lives and then put them into practice. Learning about John Paul II’s theology of the family translates into our work with Atchison children and completes the experience of community, faith, and scholarship that this fellowship offers.”

Angelico Fellow Finds Allies in Transforming Culture through Beauty

When first visiting Benedictine College as a prospective student, senior Celeste Lirette had high hopes about becoming a Raven. Not only were her hopes met, but she found unexpected allies in transforming culture through Beauty during her time as an Angelico Fellow, the Fellowship program for the Center for Beauty and Culture. A Liturgical Music major from Louisiana as well as a talented choral conductor, she has received many opportunities for growth through the Center for Beauty and Culture, including funding for a study abroad program in Germany, which she said will shape the rest of her life.

“My involvement in the Angelico fellows has enhanced all three of the Benedictine pillars of community, faith, and scholarship in my life. I have met, networked, and worked with so many great students who are also fellows. As our fellowship caters specifically to artists and those in adjacent fields, it has been invaluable to meet those who are passionate and commit their lives to beauty as I do. I know who else will be working in the culture to evangelize through beauty, and I will lean on them for a common mission forever. My faith has been confirmed and strengthened by not only the witness of all the Angelico fellows, but the education I receive in our meetings also exposes me to ways I can personally grow in holiness, as well as be a leader to my friends, family, community, and world. ”

Celeste was pleasantly surprised to discover that all her hopes as a prospective Raven were fulfilled during her time at Benedictine. “The enthusiasm I had for this mission as a prospective student and as a freshman has not faded over time, but it has grown and been confirmed by the people, organizations, and fruits placed before me. I have seen and experienced beautiful liturgies, holy friendships, remarkable scholarship, growth in virtue, support for the needy, and celebration of all treasures the Church and our Christian culture have to offer. The surprise was that the hope I tasted in my first encounters with Benedictine were grounded in reality; a community rooted in Christ, a life worth living, surrounded by beauty…it is all real and truly possible.”

Serving Family Life, From the Heart of St. John Paul II

St. John Paul II’s vision inspired prominent Anglican pastor to join the faith — and Benedictine College

How do you Transform Culture in America? By strengthening the family. And how do you strengthen families?

“Formation, Restoration and Exploration,” says Tory Baucum, director of Benedictine College’s Center for Family Life. The new center has been doing just that — working with students on campus to tutor Atchison kids, working with 10 parishes throughout the Archdiocese, hosting families from across the United States, and going to the roots of John Paul’s vision of the family in Poland.

“I have met really extraordinary people at Benedictine College,” said Tory Baucum. “This center is poised to make a real difference.”

The center was formed after members of the board of directors, faculty, staff, and subject experts met to determine the best ways to Transform Culture in America. St. John Paul II’s apostolic exhortation The Church in America became a focal point for plans. The document calls for American colleges to “train truly Christian leaders in the different spheres of human activity” and stresses the family. St. John Paul II has said “The future of civilization passes by way of the family.”

The John Paul II Fellows program forms students to be able to build strong families. Under the Center’s direction and mentorship, Benedictine College students go out to serve at-risk students in local public schools. The objective is to be living examples and teachers of what Tory calls the “Human Dignity Curriculum,” delivering universal truths in a way that a secular population can receive.

“Central to these principles is the belief freedom enables human excellence,” said Tory. “The Fellows instill the foundation that persons are subjects, never objects, and that students should pursue true friendships, which is the kind that help them accomplish excellence.”

Students are responding. “This program has added a whole different element to the meaning of scholarship for me,” said Nicole Hraban, a junior from Windsor, Colo. “Once I stepped outside of myself and my bubble, I was able to better understand the communities’ wants and needs. And by working alongside the people who know Atchison the best, we are able to inspire real change and genuine progress within the community that we serve.”

Family Week at the college forms married and family life for participants from several states. From May 22-28 more than 30 adult participants and more than 80 children converged on the campus of Benedictine College for a week of fun, bonding, learning and full living. The week was designed by veterans of the John Paul II Institute in Rome and brings a rich European model to the states for the first time. The week is “a true experience of an authentic Catholic vision for marriage and family life,” said Tory. “Fighting back against the secular narrative about family life, and giving intentional couples time and family activities to help refresh and restore their marriage.”

Poland outreach helps explore the depths of the Church’s teaching. Tory and the Fellows planned an immersive dive into the history and culture of Poland, where John Paul II developed his love of the family and was formed into the saint he would become. Unfortunately for the students, the overseas trip was cancelled because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which sent all of Europe into uncertain times.

However, Tory decided to make the trip alone, representing Archbishop Joseph Naumann, Archbishop of Kansas City in Kansas, in a visit to the Diocese of Warsaw.  There he experienced the beauty of the domestic church in action, as Catholics opened their doors to accept millions of refugees fleeing the terrors of war in Ukraine. In fact, in meeting with Bishop Michal Janocha, Auxiliary Bishop of Warsaw, Tory was impressed to see that the bishop, himself, was housing a Ukrainian refugee family in his own home.

Tory’s writings on the visit proved immensely popular in Poland, and he was invited to return in June for a government-sponsored forum on developing policies toward a long-term solution for the crisis.

“Poland is leading Europe in the Ukrainian refugee crisis and the domestic church leaders are leading Poland. Benedictine College’s Center for Family Life has been invited to coach these leaders,” Baucum said.

It was a deep love for Catholic principles of family life that led a renowned Anglican pastor of 30 years from his prestigious post of one of the Six Preachers of Canterbury Cathedral into the Catholic Church, and to the first directorship of the new Center for Family Life at Benedictine College.

Dr. Tory Baucum served as pastor of Episcopal parishes throughout the country and taught aspiring preachers at Asbury Theological Seminary. His 2014 appointment as one of the Six Preachers of Canterbury Cathedral opened opportunities for Tory to meet and learn from influential figures not only in his denomination, but also from other Christian faiths in ecumenical cooperation. He met Don Renzo Bonetti, founder of the Italian Movement Mistero Grande, in Rome. Through that relationship and others, coupled with countless hours of study, Tory became convinced that Saint John Paul’s vision for the domestic Church, fortified by the saint’s unique 20th century Polish experience, was the answer to the disunity and chaos poisoning relationships in the world today.

With help from Atchison’s Benedictines, he became an Oblate of the order. Then, through preparation provided through a dear friend, Fr. Paul Scalia, son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Tory and his wife, Elizabeth, were received into full communion with the Catholic Church on Easter Sunday, 2020. It was Fr. Scalia who provided a second assist to Tory, recommending that he explore a newly formed leadership position he had learned about in Kansas — which also just happens to be the state of Tory’s childhood.

The Center has ambitious dreams for the implementation of John Paul’s vision, but Tory believes it’s the most important mission of our time. He saw in the Catholic Church the one institution willing to consistently lay it all on the line for the family, and that was enough for him to change his world forever. Now he’s dedicated to a life of training the young people of Benedictine College to change their world.

For more on Tory’s work, check ExCorde.org, especially:
excorde.org/3-million-refugees

Learn how to help Transform Culture in America with the Center for Family Life:
Michela Brooks
mbrooks@benedictine.edu