To listeners of SiriusXM’s The Catholic Channel, Greg and Jennifer Willits are “The Catholics Next Door.” The couple, who have been married since 1995, are the proud parents of four sons (Sam, Walter, Ben and Tommy) and one daughter (Lily). They recently sat down with St. Anthony Messenger while they were in our studios recording their book The Catholics Next Door: Adventures in Imperfect Living. They talked about their mission, their faith and the challenges of passing the faith onto their children.

Modern Catholic New Media Missionaries

The Willitses see themselves as missionaries in a new land. For Greg, that means “going to the new territories where people are with their cellphones and their computers and with their Internet and iPods and all the technology that’s out there.” Or as Jennifer says, it’s reaching out to the “digital sheep” — those who can be reached only through online communication.

But Greg points out that not all of the Church’s energy should be spent on this area of new media. “We can’t look at the different technologies and the different methods of delivery as an either/or type of thing. We should really be using everything. God has given us a multitude of technologies. We need to be using those things for sharing our faith.”

Jennifer chimes in: “As Catholics, we have the best message in the world. And sometimes it’s like the worst delivery method. Why can’t we spread the news more efficiently and effectively when it’s the best message in the world?”

It’s a balancing act. And it’s a balancing act at home, too.

“We struggle,” says Jennifer. “And then as soon as we find the balance, something will change in the dynamic of the family that we’ll have to create a new balance. …” “Or new technology comes to the forefront,” adds Greg.

As they say in their book, “We’re not the best, but we want to get there.” And so they continue to try. Because as Greg says, “Striving for holiness: That’s the whole purpose of being Catholic — to be a saint here on this earth.”