Maggie Craig is wise beyond her years and gifted beyond belief! Brimming with zeal and passion, she uses hilarious anecdotes and profound truth-bombs to invite her listeners into the adventure of surrendering to God’s love and to the Church’s truth.
— Fr. Patrick Schultz, Parochial Vicar at Communion of Saints Parish, Cleveland, Ohio

a b o u t M a g g i e

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_2018

fall  TOUR

 

September 8

Middle School Kick Off Night

St. Elizabeth Catholic Church

Port Neches, Texas

 

September 19

High School XLT Night of Reflection

Santa Margarita Catholic High School

Rancho Santa Margarita, California

 

September 22

High School Leadership Training

Holy Redeemer - St. James Life Teen

La Crescenta, California

September 29

Women's Retreat

University of Florida Catholic Gators

Gainesville, Florida

October 1

Theology on Tap

Diocese of St. Augustine

Gainesville, Florida

October 3

School Assembly

St. John Paul II Catholic School

Lecanto, Florida

October 7

High School Youth Group

St. Timothy Catholic Church

Lutz, Florida

October 8

High School Women's Night

Epipahny Cathedral

Venice, Florida

October 12

Sagrado Corazon de Jesus

Hispanic Prayer Group

Temple Terrace, Florida

 

October 13

High School Youth Group

Epiphany Of Our Lord Catholic Church

Tampa, Florida

October 18

Theology of the Body

Newman Club at Florida Atlantic University

Boca Raton, Florida

 

October 20

Confirmation Retreat 

St. Paul Catholic Church 

Tampa, Florida

October 25

High School Retreat

Donahue Academy

Ave Maria, Florida 

October 26

Middle School Women’s Session

Donohue Academy

Ave Maria, Florida

October 27

Confirmation Retreat

Blessed Trinity Catholic Church

Ocala, Florida

October 30

Middle School Assembly

St. Raphael Catholic School

Naperville, Illinois

November 4

High School Youth Group Night

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church

Jackson, Missouri

November 5

High School Sophomore Retreat

Notre Dame Regional High School

Cape Girardeau, Missouri

November 5

VIA: Young Adult Worship Night

Incarnate Word Catholic Parish

Chesterfield, Missouri

November 8

Confirmation Event

St. Joseph Church

Manchester, Missouri

November 9

Middle School Women’s Session

St. Joseph Catholic School

Cottleville, Missouri

November 12 - 13

High School Women’s Retreat

Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School

Altoona, Pennsylvania

November 14 - 15

Catholic Discipleship Training

Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School

Altoona, Pennsylvania

November 16

School Assembly

Bishop McCort Catholic High School

Johnstown, Pennsylvania

December 9

High School Youth Group

St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church

Grapevine, Texas

December 13

Middle School Retreat

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic School

Houston, Texas

 
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A video of Maggie presenting at the Diocese of St. Petersburg Good Samaritan Project in June 2018 to 300 high schoolers, youth ministers, chaperones, and college-aged volunteers. In this original talk, Maggie discusses the reality of God's presence in the Church.

Several minutes of Maggie's talk on the identity of God to young adults in the diocese of Charleston, May 2018,

A montage of pictures and videos from Maggie's speaking travels for the month of October 2018.

e n d o r s e m e n t s

Maggie is an exceptional storyteller and evangelist. Combining humorous personal experiences with an impressive knowledge of the Church’s teaching and the Gospel, Maggie brings Christ’s Good News to teens in a unique way.
— Lizzie Gormley, Life Teen Summer Camps Director
The Church needs new ways to evangelize, catechize, and empower our youth culture of today. Maggie does this and so much more with her personality, humor, insight, and love of the Gospel. We want Maggie to come back!
— Rick Zapf, Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries at St. Joseph of Honey Creek, San Antonio, Texas
Maggie naturally captivates an audience by seamlessly mixing personal experience, effortless humor, and relatable anecdotes with solid, Catholic theology. She exudes an authentic joy both on and off stage. We look forward to the opportunity to work with her again.
— Sarah Prudhom, Operations & Events Manager for Partnership for Youth, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Maggie’s enthusiasm for the Gospel is infectious. My teens were engaged and challenged on so many levels. I can’t wait to bring her back to my parish.
— Michael Paul Leon, Youth Minister and Confirmation Coordinator at Holy Redeemer – St. James Life Teen, La Crescenta, California
Maggie was phenomenal. She gets right to the heart of what teens and pre-teens need to hear in remaining true to the Christian values in today’s culture. She is hilarious and we can’t wait to have her back again!
— Theresa Benson, Middle School Youth Minister at St. Matthew Catholic Church, Charlotte, North Carolina
Maggie is clearly inspired by the Holy Spirit and overflowing with the joy of the Gospel. She left my students amazed and longing for more truth about their identity and God’s plan for love in their life.
— Mark Bocinsky, eighth grade Theology teacher at Notre Dame Catholic School, Denver, Colorado
Maggie was a very engaging and dynamic speaker! She is able to dive deeper into the Truth in a very relatable way. We look forward to bringing Maggie back to our Diocese soon.
— Katie Gunkle, Associate Director in the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, Diocese of Charleston
Maggie has impressed me with her artistic creativity, professional approach, and ability to engage people of all ages, from senior citizens to middle school students. Her contagious zeal and joy of living helps her relate to people. A person can’t help but catch a piece of that zeal and joy when they are with her.
— Fr. Tom Pastorious, priest of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Missouri
Maggie is a talented and passionate speaker who takes real-life examples and connects them to the Gospel Message that leaves a lasting impression. She kept our youth engaged, laughing, and on the edge of their seats. If you are looking for an all-around speaker who is a joy to work with, Maggie is the speaker for you!
— Alyson Radford, Coordinator of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, Diocese of Steubenville, Ohio
Maggie has a heart for ministry and that passion is felt by any audience that hears her speak. She is relevant, relational, and Christ-centered. Maggie was a joy to work with and I would highly recommend her to any ministry seeking a retreat host or guest speaker.
— Michelle Fischer, Youth Minister at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, Titusville, Florida
Maggie is an amazing speaker who has the ability to captivate an audience through a mixture of humor, life stories, and theological knowledge. Maggie has a heart for ministry and it shines through everything she does. I would highly recommend bring her to your next event!
— Steven Dwyer, Youth Minister at St. Thomas More Catholic Community in Las Vegas, Nevada
Maggie is very professional and very motivating. Her enthusiasm for the faith is contagious. I was very inspired to be courageous in my love for life and love for God.
— Heidi Kendziorski, Teacher at St. Michael Academy, Petoskey, Michigan
Maggie was able to keep the attention of the high school students with her enthusiastic and captivating personality. Her presentation was exactly what our group needed. We greatly enjoyed Maggie and would love to see her back.
— Rebekah Koehler, Coordinator of Youth Ministry at St. Patrick Catholic Church, Kokomo, Indiana
Maggie is an amazing minister with an incredible ability. She knows how to relate to the teens with her comedic storytelling skills in a way that makes them lower their barriers. It was a pleasure to have her at our parish and we will definitely have her come back again.
— Lizette Suarez, Youth Minister at Most Holy Rosary Catholic Church, Oakland, California
Maggie speaks with a down-to-earth, open, and honest love for God that makes you want to hear more! She is able to relate our faith to everyday life seamlessly. She will have you in tears from laughing and crying when you find yourself in her story. Don’t miss this opportunity to hire this talented young woman!
— Jennifer Linder, Youth Coordinator at St. Timothy Catholic Church, Lutz, Florida
Maggie radiates her profound love of God in such an amazing way. She engages everyone through humor, His Word, and relatable moments. She helps us all to recognize that Christ’s love and mercy is always before us, meeting us right where we are.
— Cindy Mendiola, Youth Minister at San Martin de Porres Catholic Church in Laredo, Texas
Maggie has a great mix of depth and humor that is appealing to all ages. Her ability to weave together her personal experiences with Scripture and our Catholic faith makes for engaging presentations that really have an impact on everyone that hears her speak.
— Margie Weir, Youth Minister at Holy Name of Jesus Parish, Indialantic, Florida

C o n t a c t

 

Want to bring Maggie to your event?

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For more information on how to get Maggie to your retreat, conference, rally, camp, XLT, or other event, please contact her at:

 

maggiecraigministries@gmail.com

Facebook: @Maggie Craig Ministries 

Instagram: Maggie_Craig_

B L O G

 

05:  Church

Have you ever asked yourself “Where is God?”

I know I have. I’ve often reflected on my life and wondered if God can actually be present in my broken past and my unknown future. I’ve looked at the state of the world and asked if God has abandoned us to our woundedness and pain.

Before Jesus ascended to the Father, He told His Apostles: “Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). How could He possibly fulfill that promise? The human person, Jesus of Nazareth, isn’t physically on earth at this time - there isn’t a man walking around Israel wearing leather sandals and multiplying loaves and fishes anymore. Jesus was killed and buried, and then He rose again from the dead. The Christian knows that less than two months after coming back to life, He ascended into heaven and left earth.  

How then can He still be with us?

Christ is truly present in our world through His Church. On the rock of St. Peter, Jesus established a Church over two thousand years ago. His Church is so powerful that not even the powers of hell could destroy it nor remove His presence from it. The Church is not a religious building, nor individual Christians dispersed around the world. Scripture reveals that the Church is the united body of Christ. If Jesus’ Body is present, He is present. 

When we gather as a Church in His name, Jesus is present. When a priest consecrates bread and wine to become the Holy Eucharist, Jesus is present. When we receive forgiveness of sins through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Jesus is present. When we provide shelter and food and clothing to those in need, Jesus is present. He is present in concrete and bodily reality, not in some sort of feel-good fuzzy sentimentality.

Jesus hasn’t abandoned us. His Church endures. God’s covenant of love remains unbroken. 

04:  After Retreat Ends

When I was in high school, I thought that a conversion was when a Muslim woman became Catholic, or a when an atheist found his way to the Church. I believed that a conversion was the experience of being knocked off a horse like St. Paul, an instance of blinding realization, or a moment when God spoke to you from Heaven through a megaphone.

What I didn’t realize is that a conversion isn’t a single moment for a select group of people; it’s an ongoing process to which God calls all of His children. A true conversion demands a lasting relationship between you and God, one that affects not just your distant memory, but your daily actions.

Maybe you’ve had a conversion recently.

Maybe you went on your youth group’s latest retreat, conference, or summer camp and experienced a profound encounter with the Lord. You might not be able to pinpoint exactly when it happened, but you know that God changed your heart and you want to respond to that call — but how?

The Gospel of Luke records the story of a man enslaved by a violent demon. Jesus performs an exorcism. After the man is freed, he begs that the Lord might take him along on His traveling ministry. With compassion, Jesus tells the man: “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you” (Luke 8:39).

Though it’s good to serve in new places, your conversion is not first proved by caring for a malnourished toddler in an African orphanage, nor by serving a homeless mother a bowl of soup downtown. Your conversion is first demonstrated by returning home from the event and sharing God’s love with your family.

That’s hard to do.  

Sometimes it’s easier to tell a room full of strangers about your love for God than it is to tell your parents or siblings. Talking about the deep stuff – to people who know you well – is awkward. Because your family remembers all the weird stages you went through, you might be afraid they’ll think your conversion is another one of those phases like your obsession with Harry Potter or white chocolate Reece’s cups. Maybe you’re worried they’ll ridicule you, ask you complicated questions, or even worse, dismiss your legitimate experience and tell you that you’re naïve.

Before Jesus suffered His Passion, death, and Resurrection, He comforted His anxious apostles: “In the world, you will have trouble; but take courage, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). He speaks those same words of encouragement to us. The power of God is with you! The same God who touched your heart on your retreat is with you to give you the words in your mouth and the compassion in your heart to evangelize to your family. His Holy Spirit empowers you to be truthful, but tactful; open, but not overwhelming; honest, but humble.

Call upon the God of love to assist you before every interaction with your family. Prayer cannot be reserved for Sundays, retreats, or the fifteen seconds before we devour our lunch. Prayer must become our daily habit, for it is our means to sanctity, to victory, and to strengthen our ongoing conversion. Whether you are in the car, the kitchen, or the shower, take a few seconds and offer a prayer: Holy Spirit, speak through me. I know you are real and I know You have worked in my heart. Help me to share Your goodness with my family, not just through what I say, but also by how I act. Help me not to be aggressive nor judgmental, neither timid nor insincere. Help me to be an authentic image of You. Amen.

Your family may treat you a variety of ways after you return from a retreat, conference, or camp. They may become annoyingly interested and pester you for more details about the event. They may act the same and not realize how changed you feel. They may antagonize you and encourage you to brush off your experience.

Regardless of how they respond, what matters is that you love them anyway. What matters is that you are brave, and humble, and missionary to the person right in front of you. What matters is that you let your experience of God have a true effect on your everyday life. What matters is that you demonstrate real faith and real conversion, not just through profound encounters with strangers, but in simple moments with your family.

“If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” – St. Teresa of Calcutta. 

03:  All Souls' Day  

The day before Halloween, I went to a graveyard.

Spooky, right?

Actually, I went with a Religious Education group of 6th grade boys and girls in the middle of the afternoon, so it wasn’t exactly the most bone-chilling of outings.

After listening to a catechesis on Purgatory and the importance of praying for the dead, the kids scattered to explore the cemetery with chaperones jogging after them to keep up.

I wasn’t officially part of the group – I was only in town for the weekend to visit family. So I didn’t have to monitor the kids, chase down any rascals, nor patrol the entrance to prevent any of them from sneaking away to the Dunkin Donuts across the street.

Instead, I got to shuffle through the leaves and scan the tombstones for unusual names and the oldest birthdays. The front section held graves so weather-stained that I couldn’t make anything out, but the graves toward the back were much newer and clearer. Where the older graves included just last names and a year of death, many of these newer ones also had quotes engraved upon the stone.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for you are with me.”

“Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?”

“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”

I will never know Norma Rhodes or Martina Jimenez or Henry Cobb, or any of those buried in that cemetery. I don’t know a thing about them – their sense of humor or what they did for fun or their favorite dessert – but I but I know everything about them.

They aligned themselves with Christ in life and in death. And they’re in Heaven, rooting for me right now.

This is what makes Catholicism so amazing.

Catholicism is not an ethical code that involves yourself and your own actions. It’s not even a religion that’s just about you and Jesus. Catholicism is bigger than that.

Catholicism is about community. The Church is a community because the God we serve is a community: the Trinity. The communion of the Church on earth flows from the communion of the Trinity.

That means that if you are part of the Church, you’re part of the universal community and the universal family. That means you have angels and saints and people throughout the centuries and from all across the globe praying for you, on earth and in Heaven.

This is what it means not to go through life alone. This is what is means to be part of the Church. This is what it means to be Catholic.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2

02:  Lord of the Rings

For the summer of 2013, I had mac n cheese and pulled pork every Monday night. It was glorious.

One Monday after dinner, I walked by a group of teenage girls just outside the dining hall. As I approached, they leapt up and began chanting: “SPEECH! SPEECH! SPEECH!” 

Since summer camp is an environment for odd occurrences, I was prepared to rise magnificently to the challenge. I placed my Nalgene water bottle on the ground, climbed on top of a nearby stump, and declared: “Today is my one hundred and eleventh birthday! Alas, eleventy-one years is far too short a time to live among such excellent and admirable Hobbits. I don’t know have of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”

The girls stared blankly at me. Their chaperone burst into applause.

If you are as confused as that pack of teenagers, no worries. You just aren’t as obsessed with Lord of the Rings as I am.

Thankfully, my whole family is on the same page as me. One Christmas, my dad designed t-shirts with a quote from the dwarf Gimili on the back and gave to everyone as gifts. When my sister and I go hiking, we use our hiking poles to reenact the wizard duel between Gandalf and Saruman. While waiting in line at amusement parks, my mom reads aloud from the Return of the King (book #3) so animatedly that the people around us ask which ride we’re going to next so they can keep listening.

J. R. R. Tolkien published his trilogy of books over 50 years ago. Obviously Lord of the Rings isn’t the most modern of phenomenons, but that doesn’t mean they’re not still relevant.

I watched the movies again last week with my cousins when they were in town. There’s this one scene where a small Hobbit named Merry tries to convince the Ents (giant walking and talking trees. Weird, I know, but just try to keep up) to join him and his friends in their quest to destroy evil. Treebeard, the leader of the Ents, tells Merry essentially, “nah, thanks though bro.” Outraged, Merry asks him, “But you’re a part of this world, aren’t you?!”

I’ve seen this scene over a dozen times over the years. Yet it stuck with me this time, and for the last week, I can’t stop thinking about Merry’s response.

Am I a part of this world?

I am made for Heaven and that is where my true home lies. But what about the meantime? Am I living like I am a part of this world? Do I live in it regretfully or fearfully, refusing to actively participate in it? Do I see the good in it? Do I seek beauty and find truth in it?

Jesus was a part of this world.

How freaking insane that He came down from Heaven and willingly embraced the human experience by becoming one of us. Jesus did wild and dramatic things no one had ever done before, like walking on water and rising from the dead and defeating Satan. But he also did super normal common things. He drank wine. He hung out in town. He made friends with weirdos and talked with sketchy people.

He lived in this world and redeemed it by His sacrifice and His participation in it. I want to follow His example. I don’t want to be afraid of entering the world that Jesus already won for Himself.

Because there are scary things in this world. I’m frightened by our presidential candidates, rape culture on college campuses, and the fact that gun violence and terrorist attacks are becoming standard headlines. I’m not denying the reality of darkness. There’s just Someone who is much more powerful.

At the conclusion of The Two Towers film (the second installment), Sam encourages Frodo by declaring, “There’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for!” We need to listen up to good old Sam and fight for what is good in this world.

This is the situation: God alone is Creator, and Genesis tells us that everything He makes is good. All Satan can do is corrupt the good things God has made.

Our bodies and our sexuality, music, social media, fashion, politics, and popular culture can be twisted and brought low. But they aren’t objectively bad. They don’t belong to the devil.

I want to reclaim all things for Christ, particularly the pockets of creation that are especially at risk.

I want to step up as His daughter and start taking ownership of what belongs to me. Because Jesus is King, and He tells us that “all that is mine is yours” (Luke 15:31).

I have nothing in this world to fear because it belongs to my God, my Church, and me.

 

“Take courage, I have conquered the world” – John 16:33

01: Authenticity 

I went to an all-girls’ school from sixth through ninth grade. 

I’m sure there was drama, cliques, and the catty behavior that is typical in many all-girl-schools. But, to be honest, I didn’t notice it much. I was too busy stealing my friend’s Icy-Hot to rub all over my face during lunch.

I didn’t take school too seriously.

I didn’t take much seriously as a thirteen-year-old.

Sure, I worked hard at my grades because my parents demanded it. But, cumulative GPA, class ranking, and ACT practice tests were not my primary concerns. My primary concerns, like so many teenagers, weren’t as concrete as SAT scores. I had this hazy understanding that I wanted to be liked, and I went for it. 

I knew I could get most people to laugh, so that’s what I attempted to do at virtually all times. It didn’t really matter if I was making buck-toothed impersonations of my history teacher in the back of the class or telling my study hall table a highly animated account of my clumsiness in the stairwell last period; anybody and anything acted as material to boost my self-esteem through humor.

My first day of ninth grade consisted of joyous reunions with friends, the realization that our new computer teacher was a) a man and b) a hot one, and biology class with Mrs. Kerzim right after lunch.

Mrs. Kerzim was a legend at my school. No one had any idea how old she was, all her jewelry came from exotic places like Laos, and it was rumored she was a nun for a few years in a convent somewhere in the Pacific Northwest.

She started class by taking attendance like all of my other teachers. Once she finished, she informed us that she would go through the class list again. But this time, once our name was called, each student had to describe themselves using one word.

Yikes. That was a lot of pressure. Especially since my last name starts with a “C”.

Chelsea Adams, the girl sitting two rows ahead of me, was first. When called on, Chelsea folded her arms across her chest and declared: “Loud.”

Mrs. Kerzim gazed at Chelsea. “Loud? That is what you wish to be known for? That is how you choose to introduce yourself to me and to your classmates?” Chelsea shrugged.

The next four minutes consisted of some incredibly fast thinking on my part. “What did I want to be known for? How would other people describe me? What word could I say to make everyone laugh? Could I impress Mrs. Kerzim? Did I care?”

 “Maggie.” Mrs. Kerzim interrupted my frantic introspective thoughts by calling my name off the attendance list. “Please describe yourself in one word to us.”

“Ummm….funny?” I spoke as if I was asking a question. I could see from the way she narrowed her eyes slightly that Mrs. Kerzim didn’t like my word choice very much. Neither did I, to be honest.  I think she could tell because she simply nodded before calling on the next girl. 

Eight years later I think I have finally come up with a word that would have satisfied Mrs. Kerzim and myself: authentic.

Authenticity. I know that’s a buzzword. It’s overused and kicked around like a hacky sack. Like the phrase, “Just be yourself.”

What the heck does that even mean?

Sometimes I think “being myself” is laying around in soccer shorts all day, binge watching The Office, and eating a whole pizza. Sometimes I think “being authentic” is being sassy-borderline-insulting to someone at a party because they said a stupid comment. Sometimes I think that I deserve to do whatever I feel like doing once I label the experience as “authentic.”

I’ve been thinking about authenticity for a while… like for years.  I think about what authenticity looks like and why I’m drawn to it and whenever I see it, and I think about what being fake looks like and why I’m so compelled to vomit whenever I encounter it.

And I’m still not sure what authenticity exactly it is. I don’t have this grand, concrete vision of exactly how authenticity looks and how it looks on me. But I do know that it involves honesty. And freedom. And vulnerability. And joy. I know it’s less about doing whatever we feel like doing and more about being whoever we’re called to be. I think pursuing authenticity is pursuing Jesus Christ. I think authenticity is what Jesus is all about.

Whatever authenticity actually is, and whatever it looks like practically, is what I want. It’s the kind of woman, the kind of Catholic, and the kind of speaker I want to be known for.

I don’t want to be a woman who finds her worth in inaccurate perceptions of femininity.

I don’t want to be a Catholic who creates a false idea of elevated personal holiness. 

I don’t want to be a speaker who pretends never to struggle with sin and temptation.

 

I want to be real, and I want this blog to reflect that aspiration.

 

St. Teresa of Avila wrote: “We shall never succeed in knowing ourselves unless we seek to know God.”

That’s the goal of blog: to know myself and to know God in the most authentic way possible.