The following post is contributed by Mary Kay Boase, the Director of New Evangelization at Holy Family Parish in Whitby.
Our parishioners are on a journey, rediscovering what faith means in our lives – and who we are as a community.
Through our parish plan for a spiritual renovation, there are many elements: from ongoing adult faith formation and kerygmatic [evangelization] programs, to outreach in the community and work with our youth ministry.
As part of this path of discovery, we recently organized a series of workshops themed Discovering Our Gifts. This program was created in response to a desire by many of our parishioners who wanted to become more involved in parish life, but were not quite sure where they would fit in.
Our goal for these presentations was to provide the 120 participants with a number of different ways to explore and analyze their own gifts and talents and discern the best ways they can contribute to building up our community of faith. We no longer want to just go to church, we want to be our Church. We want to be stewards of the gifts God has given to us.
The first workshop was based on the Catholic Leadership Institute's program Tending the Talents and was led by parish staff. It helped the participants strengthen their awareness of their natural characteristics for ministry and equipped them with the necessary skills to fulfill their role in the Church.
The second workshop was led by David Lahey and Karen Beam, of the Predictive Success Corporation, and provided knowledge and insights to the natural behaviours and drives that God gave each of us to know, love and discern about ourselves.
With a focus on leadership, the third workshop included a presentation by Dr. Linda Daylor (pictured in image above) entitled Lead Like Jesus, which brought greater understanding of the essentials of servant-leadership, with scriptural examples of Jesus to help us use our gifts in ministry.
The final workshop involved Fr. Ben St. Croix, leading us through a special presentation to Discover Your Spiritual Gifts. Fr. Ben taught about the importance of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the charisms found in scripture so that we may recognize the multitude of gifts God has blessed the Church with and to equip us for our place as instruments for the Lord's work in in the world.
It was a blessing to be able to take the time to understand and reflect on the different ways that our personalities and profiles are gifts from God – we are all unique and have a purpose in His plan.
As a church community, we gained insights into the importance of knowing our gifts and talents and also reflected on the need to provide people with these invaluable opportunities to experience this spiritual learning. We recognize that in their hearts, they are yearning for it, as we know we are all called: "Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms." (1 Peter 4: 10 – 11)
This Christmas season, what are you doing to discover your God-given gifts and talents?