By ERIKA ANDERSON, Special To The Bulletin | Published February 28, 2013
ATLANTA—One of the archdiocese’s favorite families is saying goodbye to Atlanta.
Greg Willits, former Sirius XM host of “The Catholics Next Door” and founder of the Rosary Army, has accepted a role as director of Faith Formation and Family Life Ministries for the Archdiocese of Denver. His wife, Jennifer, and their five children will join him in Denver in the next few months.
Parishioners of St. James Church in McDonough, the Willitses are well known around the Archdiocese of Atlanta. In 2003, the couple founded Rosary Army, an apostolate dedicated to making twine rosaries and giving them away to those who request them. Through Rosary Army, they began a popular podcast, which eventually led to their four-year stint as hosts of “The Catholics Next Door” on the Catholic Channel on Sirius XM satellite radio. The show ended last year.
Before Greg’s appointment in Denver, the Willitses were focusing their energy into New Evangelizers, the apostolate that encompasses Rosary Army, The Catholics Next Door and several other ministries. New Evangelizers provides free tools and resources to help Catholics know their faith, live their faith, and share their faith more effectively.
“After our radio show came to a conclusion after four years on Sirius XM, Jennifer and I knew there was a good chance I’d find myself working outside of the home once again. After having juggled both a full-time job as well as all the administrative aspects of Rosary Army (and now New Evangelizers), we knew that whatever new job God led me to may not allow me to continue that work,” Greg said. “And if Rosary Army and all the rest faded away, then we were prepared to accept that as God’s will and be thankful for the experience of these past 10 years.”
But the Willitses turned, as they usually do, to prayer. Jennifer went through a program, renewing her consecration to Jesus through Mary.
“Jennifer’s excitement for what God has done through these different endeavors was reignited, and we decided that if God led me to a new full-time position somewhere that would make it difficult for me to continue the administrative aspects of New Evangelizers and all the rest, that Jennifer would take over operations,” Greg said. “So when I was offered this position in Denver, I officially resigned as president of New Evangelizers and Jennifer was officially promoted. And quite honestly, I’m very excited to turn the reins over to her and to see the new direction in which she takes it. I believe wholeheartedly that her enthusiasm for serving Jesus and our Blessed Mother is going to continue yielding amazing things for God through these apostolates.”
Greg, too, is excited about his new role for the Archdiocese of Denver, in which he will oversee the offices of Evangelization and Catechesis, Marriage and Family Life, and Youth, Young Adult, and Campus Ministry.
“I’ve been given an opportunity to look at the already incredible things being done by these various offices and to perhaps infuse some of my creative energy through digital and new media and other proven strategies to help form more new evangelizers for the Catholic faith,” he said.
Greg left for Denver in late January, and hopes Jennifer and their five children will join him by the end of March. Though they’re looking forward to their new Colorado adventures, the Willitses are grateful for the support they’ve received in Atlanta.
“I cannot give enough thanks to everyone at the Archdiocese of Atlanta for the years of friendship and support they’ve shown to us personally, as well as to the apostolic work we’ve attempted to do over the past 10 years,” Greg said. “So many things that we managed to do could never have been done without the unending and always enthusiastic support of so many people both in the chancery and at individual parishes.”
They’ll also miss the archdiocese’s annual Eucharistic Congress, which they’ve attended as volunteers, speakers and audience members. That event, Greg said, has changed their lives.
“I tell people all the time that if you want to have a life-changing experience, open yourself to encountering Jesus Christ in the Eucharist at the Eucharistic Congress. I believe with every ounce of my being that this job I now hold is a direct result of the way the Eucharistic Congress opened up me and my family to letting God do more in our lives,” he said. “There is a direct correlation between the attending of our first Eucharistic Congress in 2002 to every single thing we’ve attempted to do for the Church since then.”