Subject: KINGDOM UPDATE: MOBILIZING FOR MISSION | The Father John Riccardo Story | IGNITE Radio Live: "Missioned Friendship: God Rescuing His Family"

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[Below based upon an article from Aletei]

Father John Riccardo's journey began with the vivid image of the crucifix adorning the walls of Holy Name Parish in Birmingham, Michigan, his boyhood sanctuary. As a child, this symbol of Christ's sacrifice spoke volumes to his soul, imprinting upon him the profound truth that Jesus died for him, a realization that would shape the course of his life.

Born into a family that defied convention, his father, John, held prestigious positions as the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board for Chrysler Corporation, yet his true strength lay in his unwavering devotion to Catholicism. Witnessing his nightly prayers and steadfast commitment to attending Mass even during his frequent travels left an indelible mark on John's heart, demonstrating that faith was not merely a crutch for the weak but a source of enduring strength.

John's mother, Thelma, initially a Methodist, embraced Catholicism alongside the family, her own journey of conversion a testament to the transformative power of faith. His upbringing as the youngest of five children was marked by the miraculous, as his very existence defied medical odds, conceived against the advice of doctors due to his mother's debilitating back condition. Her subsequent healing, after years of unrelenting pain, became a cornerstone of the family's faith, a tangible reminder of the omnipotence of God's grace.

Yet, despite the miracles that surrounded him, adolescence brought a period of spiritual tumult. While his prayers remained fervent, John found himself veering from the path of righteousness, living a life at odds with his Catholic upbringing. College at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor ushered in a period of spiritual apathy, where sporadic attendance at Mass mirrored the inconsistency of his faith.

It was not until his junior year, in 1986, that a transformative encounter with a group of Christian brothers reignited the embers of his faith. Through their example, he glimpsed the possibility of a life fully surrendered to God, prompting a profound conversion that saw him severing ties with a serious romantic relationship to devote himself wholeheartedly to Christian outreach.

Despite graduating with a degree in English and communications, John's career aspirations in the automotive industry felt increasingly incongruent with God's calling. A chance encounter with a Christian song, "God's Own Fool," during a moment of spiritual turmoil served as a harbinger of divine intervention, culminating in a vision of Jesus himself in his car. His words, imploring him to surrender his dreams and desires for His divine will, shattered the illusion of control, propelling him into a period of uncertainty tinged with divine purpose.

For the next three years, he immersed himself in Christian outreach, wrestling with God's call to a life beyond his comprehension. 

Fr. John describes what happened from there:

By the time I was twenty-five, I took a job working in Ohio for Ford Motor Company in an account management training program. I was dating again and had decided to apply to graduate school. During this time, while reading his Bible one day, I came across this passage in Matthew: "Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it."

Something stirred within me. I thought, "Oh nuts! I think I’m suppose to do this." I almost threw my Bible on the ground. In frustration, I cried out to God, "Lord, I don’t get it. I thought of marriage once, that didn’t fit; the brotherhood didn’t fit, I started dating again, that didn’t fit…"
Suddenly, I heard a clear voice speaking to me: "John, I’m inviting you to live single and to do it as a priest." Although the voice would not have been audible to another, it was certainly not my own voice — I had never even considered the priesthood.

I responded, "Lord, if that’s what you want me to do, then you better give me a desire for it, because I don’t have it." By the fifth day, I longed to know more about the priesthood.

His journey was not without its trials. A diagnosis of unexplained scar tissue on his heart cast a shadow of uncertainty, yet a revelation in the chapel of the North American College in Rome unveiled the source of this mysterious affliction – a divine touch, a reminder of God's guiding hand throughout his journey.

Father John Riccardo's journey continued to unfold as pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel parish in the Archdiocese of Detroit, where he steered a community hungry for spiritual renewal towards a deeper encounter with Christ. Drawing upon his own encounters with Christ, he infused the congregation with a renewed sense of purpose and passion for evangelization, leading them with a boldness and zeal reminiscent of the early disciples. At the heart of his leadership lay a commitment to fostering a culture of encounter, inviting parishioners to experience the transformative love of Christ in their midst.

Within this context of pastoral ministry, the seeds of Acts XXIX were planted—a vision born out of a deep desire to awaken the Church to its missionary identity in the modern world. Inspired by the boldness of the early apostles, Father Riccardo envisioned a movement that transcended institutional, maintenance driven ministry, but would recover God's appointing and anointing of  missioned family, made for fellowship with Him, empowering Catholics to become bold witnesses to the Gospel in their everyday lives.

Under the banner, "God wants His world back; He wants His family back," Acts XXIX has emerged as a beacon of hope, awakening believers and leaders with the vision, tools and support they need to live the Gospel with contagious joy: to be "rescued rescuers." Through the love of the Father, guided by the Holy Spirit and grounded in Eucharistic prayer, Father Riccardo and the Acts XXIX family are igniting a fervent commitment to making disciples of all nations, inspiring countless souls to embrace their call to rescue and recreate the world today.

[LISTEN NOW to this week's IGNITE RADIO LIVE. Stephanie and I share our remarkable experience at the Acts XXIX "Leadership Immersive." Get on board with Rescue Project: Home Edition at] 

We are so blessed to be united with you in building the Kingdom,

Greg Schlueter
Mass Impact | Image Trinity | (814) 449-8808

AN URGENT APPEAL: Our nonprofit movement has been making a significant impact on marriages and families. At present we've dwindled to about two months of sustainability. We are so grateful for the prayers and support of monthly partners whose generosity currently covers about 50%. This mission would be so blessed to reach 100%. Please consider ⁠⁠partnering with us. We would love to connect personally to answer any questions. 

We would be so grateful for your partnership.

Too many really good parents, in spite of having done "everything" to form their children to know and live a vibrant faith in Jesus Christ, lament that they've left the folds. In this very candid, clear, compelling, and hope-filled episode, Greg and Stephanie weave real stories and guidance about something that has been a "magnificent family game changer" in their family and for thousands of others. This is a "must listen" for any parent passionate about making their home a vibrant, authentic, saint-making culture.

Also in this episode, we do a deeper dive into the Gospel:
"I also love you." (John 15:9-17)

And we discuss these consequential news stories from The Loop (
  • Az House Votes to Repeal Pro-Life Law, Effort Goes to Senate
  • Jesuit University’s Health Plan Appears to Cover Abortion
  • Birth Rates Plummet to Historic Lows
  • Harvard Protesters Replace American Flag with Palestine Flag
  • Cardinal: Frassati Could Be Canonized Next Year
  • Archbishop Cordileone to Hold Holy Hour for Hong Kong Christians
  • ‘Jesus Thirsts’: Upcoming Film about the Eucharist
  • ‘Baby Olivia Act’ Signed in Tennessee
  • Florida Sues Biden over Pro-LGBTQ Title IX Changes
  • Pelosi: Dems Will Kill Filibuster for Abortion if Biden Wins
♣ A vital partnership with Father John Riccardo's Rescue Project: Home Edition amplifies our commitment to bringing the Father's Heart into homes. This collaboration serves as a beacon of hope, offering refuge, healing, and renewal to those seeking a deeper connection with their faith. (

♣ At the core of our mission is the Live IT Gathering Guide, a weekly commitment for families to grow together. United with other families on the same journey, we form a robust network of support, fortifying each other in our collective mission to build the Kingdom of God. ( Get our Live IT App with all the things! (

♣ #1 NEW RELEASE ON AMAZON! My first book and ebook, "The Magnificent Piglets of Pigletsville" (Our Present-Day Plight Wrapped in a Fairytale) is available in paperback, hardcopy, Kindle, Audible, Audiobook and iTunes. In the depths, beyond the shallows of politics, is our deepest aspiration for belonging and becoming, which takes place on a battlefield. ORDER See the book-movie trailer at

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