“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you…” ~Jesus, Matthew 28:19-20a
“By virtue of their baptism, all the members of the People of God have become missionary disciples (cf. Mt 28:19…The new evangelization calls for personal involvement on the part of each of the baptized.” ~Pope Francis, Joy of the Gospel, No. 120
“Missionary disciples accompany missionary disciples.” ~Pope Francis, Joy of the Gospel, No. 173
In the early life of the Church, Christianity was known as “the way” because life in Christ is not primarily an intellectual exercise but a whole way of life that is lived and transmitted from person to person. This happens in the sacraments, pastoral care, friendships, and bible studies, just to name a few ways. Sacred Heart Ministries exists to continue the tradition of making missionary disciples through one-on-one personal and spiritual accompaniment.
In the “culture of death” in which we live, families are broken, divorce and abuse are becoming the norm, and the experience of being lonely and unwanted seems for many the only reality of life. When we “remove our sandals before the sacred ground of the other” through accompaniment, we begin the process of restoring peoples dignity. When a person’s dignity is restored and intimacy with Christ is lived out fully, they can do the most amazing and unexpected things.
Our first goal is to help the lay faithful to fulfill their call as missionary disciples so they will transform the world according to God’s plan of love. Our second goal is to “initiate everyone-priests, religious, and laity-into the art of accompaniment.” In all of this, we seek to become mature missionary disciples ourselves, and “be ready to share not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us (1 Thess. 2:8)”
To spiritually accompany missionary disciples and initiate the laity, religious, and clergy in the art of accompaniment, so we can transform the world according to God’s plan of love.
Founder, Sacread Heart Ministries
Matthew Simmons is a convert to the Catholic faith, entering the Church Easter of 2008 in the Diocese of Lincoln. Matthew has naturally found himself in positions of mentoring and teaching others. He has been spiritually accompanied and been accompanying others for over eighteen years in a variety of ways. In 1998 Matthew began attending twelve-step meetings where he made his beginning in the spiritual life while being accompanied and accompanying others. Also beginning in 1998, Matthew began working with Developmentally Disabled individuals in group homes, teaching them the skills necessary to successfully live in society. In 2004, Matthew left work in group homes and began to tattoo. Then in 2006, Matthew opened Sacred Heart Tattoo where he began evangelizing and sponsoring men into the Church. During his time tattooing, Matthew not only learned about business, but also apprenticed tattoo artists and helped others grow in the art of tattoo. In 2011 Matthew became a FOCUS Missionary at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where all the previous skills of evangelizing, business, and spiritual accompaniment began to merge. After leaving FOCUS, Matthew made the nineteenth annotation Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, where he received the call to found Sacred Heart Ministries. He still lives and works in Lincoln Nebraska accompanied by his wife Demetra and their three children Thaddeus, Penelope, and Annora.