Prayer, community essential in helping people with addiction

| August 18, 2016 | 0 Comments
Father Martin Fleming believes in “keeping Jesus in the center of everything we do.” Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

Father Martin Fleming believes in “keeping Jesus in the center of everything we do.” Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

Father Martin Fleming, 89

Organization Retired Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, owner of Bethany Village and chairman emeritus of Trinity Sober Homes
Parish St. Olaf, Minneapolis
Volunteer activities Advisor for Trinity Sober Homes and concelebrating Mass whenever possible
Education Nazareth Hall High School and Junior College, 1946. St. Paul Seminary, ordained June 7, 1952

What does leading with faith mean to you?

Leading with faith means leading a Christian life as Jesus asks us to do, seeking always to improve my relationship with God. As faith deepens, it will shine through in relationships with others. In the first century, Jesus sent the disciples out to spread the word as he had asked them to do, and this is still being continued in the 21st century.

How do you concretely apply your faith and Catholic values at work?

At each business meeting, it is essential to begin in earnest prayer, asking for God’s guidance during the meeting. The “centrality of the Jesus event” is needed in all we do, and especially in the workplace. Keeping Jesus in the center of everything we do gives us the extra “oomph” we need.

When visitors leave my home, I accompany them to their car, as I believe that is what Jesus would have done.

Tell a story about a time when applying your faith at work really made a difference.

There are many stories. One story, though, was really wonderful. Our custodial engineer had either lost or misplaced a $20 bill. So, someone told him that praying to St. Anthony would help him find this lost article. So, he did pray and then looked on the ground, and there was his $20 bill.

Another story often repeated by me arises when I talk with those interested in renting. One lady said, “I feel so blessed to be able to live in this beautiful home.”

At the end of “getting to know you” meetings, I would always send them on their way with, “It’ll be a more beautiful place with you living here.”

Who or what has most inspired you to bring your faith to the marketplace?

My faith was inspired by my family, my teachers, fellow seminarians, priests and all of God’s faithful whom I was fortunate enough to serve during my priesthood.

What achievement at work are you most proud of?

It has been a great satisfaction to work with those recovering from alcohol and other addictions both at Bethany Village and more recently at Trinity Sober Homes. It is a great joy to see people with different problems and backgrounds “grow.” Guiding a wonderful staff to assist in finding good solutions for problems that arise within these communities has been extremely rewarding. God the Father loved Jesus, Jesus the Son loved God the Father, and with love between them, we see the Holy Spirit in action.

In what specific ways have you experienced God’s presence in your workplace?

At Bethany Village, my staff and I are part of that community concept, working together to find the best possible solutions to problems that arise with renters as they live together in community. My Irish wit sometimes comes when a good laugh is needed to break up a tense situation.

What advice do you have for others who want to lead with faith?

I would advise them to slowly introduce (or re-introduce) teachings of the Catholic faith to hurting, spiritually broken, people. Think of it as “one rosary at a time” or “one Mass at a time” rather than fire-hosing people with Church doctrine expecting a radical, immediate conversion.

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Category: Leading With Faith