What is the Third Place Project?
In the summer of 2008, youth minister Mike Landry launched the predecessor to this site as a means to stay connected to the young people he served. For seven years, iamthird.ca published more than 400 articles – reflections on the Sunday readings, online retreats during the Lenten season, Bible studies, and other reflections from his life and ministry. It was also the home base for music ministry Anaphora which Mike led, an incredible group of musicians who spent many years serving rallies, retreats, and conferences in and around the Edmonton area.
Over the last few years, this ministry has changed: Anaphora concluded it’s service to the Church, and Mike has gone from being a parish based youth minister with a strong, experienced team of young adults around him to a chaplain who regularly serves students over a 370km of distance in Northwestern Alberta, Canada. As a part of that transition, a re-branding took place and this site was relaunched in July of 2015 as the Third Place Project, featuring both the best articles from the old site and new content on a regular basis.
The Third Place Project exists to inspire anyone who will listen to live the Gospel without compromise, putting God first, your neighbor second, & yourself third.
Thirdplaceproject.com remains the online home for Mike’s writing, speaking, and music ministry. While he gives most of his time to the students in Evergreen Catholic Schools, he also embraces the opportunity to share his faith in parishes and schools as he is able to. And so, the Third Place Project is more than just a website. It is Mike Landry’s passion and his message to those who read, listen, and encounter him as he serves in Evergreen and beyond as a speaker, musician, retreat leader, and writer. At times, he is also blessed to have friends from past ministry experiences (like Anaphora) and new friends too who are willing to serve alongside him in all of these realms.
Whatever it might be, through this website or in person, Mike hopes to always present three basic truths:
- God’s unconditional love for us and our home in the Catholic Church (for more on this, see the Nicene Creed).
- That our response to His love is summed up in the great commandments to love God and our neighbor (Matthew 22:37-39).
- That we are not to keep these things hidden, and every Christian has a role in sharing the above (Luke 11:33).
…but why ‘Third’?
At any given moment high performance athletes from around the world are training with one simple goal in mind: the opportunity to compete in their chosen sport with the hope of achieving excellence and recognition. One of the easiest measures of success for these dedicated warriors is a first-place victory among peers in the same discipline. Living as a Catholic Christian in the twenty-first century requires the same qualities exemplified by these sorts of athletes: vision, dedication, perseverance, and sacrifice – yet our training is not aimed at achieving first place. Instead, Jesus’ direction in this area is simple and clear: He asks us to love God completely: “with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37) and “to love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39), since it is “on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:40).
It was these commandments that Catherine de Hueck Doherty, the foundress of Madonna House, lived without compromise in her one simple statement: I am third. Simply put, this means that to follow Jesus is to embrace a life that places God first and our neighbors second… making our ultimate goal third place. It was with this in mind that the Third Place Project was born: in the hopes that we, too, could live the Gospel without compromise – and challenge others to do the same.
We love because He first loved us. -1 John 4:19