From Our Pastor ~ 23 August 2015
Dear Good People of Saint Mary,
Beginning this week we will start again with registrations for the Called and Gifted Program at Saint Mary.
If someone told you that there was a way to make sense of the questions you may have about how God is calling you to serve him and the Church as a lay person—if there was a program where you could logically reflect on our life and discover a particular direction based on the gifts that you have received, perhaps even gifts you’ve been ignoring all these years—wouldn’t you be interested?
Here’s how it works. You attend the Workshop on Friday evening and Saturday until 3pm, October 9 and 10. After a preliminary inventory and consideration of the different gifts with which God blesses his people, you decide which gifts you would like to “experiment” with, to see if this is really the way God is leading you. You schedule a meeting with one of our trained peer-to-peer consultants (people like me who are trained in the program to help you in the discernment process) and decide which gifts you would like to focus on for now. Then, we schedule a six-week series of small group study and discussion, based on seeking the fullest expression of these gifts in your life.
We have had over 500 people in the parish complete the Workshop, half of those have followed through with the consultation and small group meetings. Not a one of them that I have spoken with has ever said that they felt it was a waste of time or something they would have ever discovered on their own. It opens doorways which maybe you thought were closed, it gives a fresh outlook on life and the way that God interacts in a living, intimate way with you.
It is important that you register soon. Last year the large Workshop we hosted included a few people from each of 14 different parishes, some local, some from far away. As the word gets out, this gets more and more popular. I don’t want precious spaces to be gone when Saint Mary people start to inquire about registration. We have 350 spaces—space is limited—because that is about all we can accommodate in the gym out at Holy Cross around tables for the Workshop and for lunch. Please don’t wait and discover that seats are filled.
I hope you’ve had a chance to look at the lineup of adult education that we are offering this year, too. It is extensive, thanks to the education committee of our parish council who continues to add more classes for adults. This year I am glad that we include such a diversity of topics. In addition to these, we intend to add also an introductory class on forming healthy attachments in dating and marriage which will be good for singles and married couples, and a class on Lectio divina prayer which I will teach. And we are developing the calendar more each week.
Finally, it is that time of year when I get excited about our fall kick-off social for the parish. Make plans now to bake an award-winning cake and come for our old-fashioned Cakewalk, dancing to a live band, and as much ice cream as you can eat. The DJ stops the music outside on the school patio and everyone stops; a number is called. If you are standing on it, you choose from all the cakes that people have donated. Really, it is like musical chairs, except that everyone eventually wins.
Anyway, it starts at 4pm on Sunday, September 13. Cake judging will happen at 4:15pm. Every year we have late arrivals after the judging has already started—cakes that probably would have won if they had arrived on time!
You will be very pleased with the spirit of good will and fellowship as we spend a beautiful afternoon together and relax as a parish. Please plan to come.
God bless you.