Stirrings by Sheila

Stirrings by Sheila: "Discipleship is Our Calling"

Dear Parishioners,

Everywhere I turn, someone is asking for volunteers.  The Volunteer Center in Green Bay lists places, people and events needing a helping hand.  We fill our bulletin with volunteer requests – serve coffee and donuts, greet people, help with mailings, serve at mass, rake the leaves, clean the church and the list goes on.  We are definitely needed.  Sometimes we are so overwhelmed with requests that we just want to turn our backs on it all and crawl into our quiet cocoons.

But last week several parishioners had the opportunity to attend the International Stewardship Convention in Atlanta, GA.  A common theme we all heard gave a different slant to volunteers.  It fit so well with our parish mission statement “Becoming disciples of Jesus and stewards of God’s gifts”.   What if we looked at the sharing of our time and talent, our prayers and service not as optional but as our calling as disciples?  What if each and every parishioner, no matter what age or however long they have been members believed that God is inviting us to live more fully by using our gifts for the good of all?

As one speaker nailed the concept, “Being a volunteer is optional.  Discipleship is our calling.”  When we were baptized our parents or we said Yes to being listeners and doers of the Gospel.  After that yes, serving and sharing is not optional. Discipleship is part of our Catholic Christian DNA.  It doesn’t go away.  We need to respond in some way to God’s continual invitation to meet Jesus and to share Jesus.

Imagine if we lived this out at Resurrection Parish.  The bulletin and Web page, Facebook and Flock notes would invite “Disciples” to serve as liturgical ministers, hospitality ministers, health ministers, childcare helpers, funeral dinner servers and choir members.   My announcements would be calling forth Stewards not volunteers for Autumn Fest, Pancake Breakfast and Holiday Bakery.  Does that mean you couldn’t say “no”.  How sweet would that be!  But, of course, that is not the point. What could happen is our discernment would be based on our Baptism call to be disciples and the gifts given to us by God.  Answering God’s call would be our motivation and, indeed, our desire.  Think about it.  Pray about it. We just might get caught by the Spirit in a change of heart.

Thanks to all you Good Stewards!

Sheila

Stirrings by Sheila: Discipleship is Our Calling

Dear Parishioners,

Everywhere I turn, someone is asking for volunteers.  The Volunteer Center in Green Bay lists places, people and events needing a helping hand.  We fill our bulletin with volunteer requests – serve coffee and donuts, greet people, help with mailings, serve at mass, rake the leaves, clean the church and the list goes on.  We are definitely needed.  Sometimes we are so overwhelmed with requests that we just want to turn our backs on it all and crawl into our quiet cocoons.

But last week several parishioners had the opportunity to attend the International Stewardship Convention in Atlanta, GA.  A common theme we all heard gave a different slant to volunteers.  It fit so well with our parish mission statement “Becoming disciples of Jesus and stewards of God’s gifts”.   What if we looked at the sharing of our time and talent, our prayers and service not as optional but as our calling as disciples?  What if each and every parishioner, no matter what age or however long they have been members believed that God is inviting us to live more fully by using our gifts for the good of all?

As one speaker nailed the concept, “Being a volunteer is optional.  Discipleship is our calling.”  When we were baptized our parents or we said Yes to being listeners and doers of the Gospel.  After that yes, serving and sharing is not optional. Discipleship is part of our Catholic Christian DNA.  It doesn’t go away.  We need to respond in some way to God’s continual invitation to meet Jesus and to share Jesus.

Imagine if we lived this out at Resurrection Parish.  The bulletin and Web page, Facebook and Flock notes would invite “Disciples” to serve as liturgical ministers, hospitality ministers, health ministers, childcare helpers, funeral dinner servers and choir members.   My announcements would be calling forth Stewards not volunteers for Autumn Fest, Pancake Breakfast and Holiday Bakery.  Does that mean you couldn’t say “no”.  How sweet would that be!  But, of course, that is not the point. What could happen is our discernment would be based on our Baptism call to be disciples and the gifts given to us by God.  Answering God’s call would be our motivation and, indeed, our desire.  Think about it.  Pray about it. We just might get caught by the Spirit in a change of heart.

Thanks to all you Good Stewards!

Sheila

Stirrings by Sheila, July 23rd, 2017 - The Feast of Mary Magdalene

Stirrings by Sheila, July 23rd, 2017 - The Feast of Mary Magdalene

July 22 is the feast of St. Mary Magdalene on the church's liturgical calendar.  Unfortunately, there are many myths about her and it has taken nearly two millennia for her reputation to be clear. She is now, as with the other named apostles, recognized as “the Apostle to the Apostles”

Stirrings by Sheila, July 23rd, 2017 - The Feast of Mary Magdalene

Stirrings by Sheila, July 23rd, 2017 - The Feast of Mary Magdalene

July 22 is the feast of St. Mary Magdalene on the church's liturgical calendar.  Unfortunately, there are many myths about her and it has taken nearly two millennia for her reputation to be clear. She is now, as with the other named apostles, recognized as “the Apostle to the Apostles”

The Sacred Art of Remembering

Last week as we brought a close to October, Bishop Bob talked about three important words that can fashion our lives as people who honor life. These words are Respect, Responsibility and Reverence. Now as we begin November, allow me to add a 4th word – Remembering is packed with possibilities. It invites us to be touched by the past with joy and laughter, with sorrow, sometimes with anger and even resentment. It can connect us with others intimately because of shared experiences that have affected our personal lives but also our work. Many my age can recall precisely where they were Nov. 22, 1963 the day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. All of us today can do the same for 9/11. The shock and horror of those days are etched into our collective memory.

Remembering is comforting and healing. Looking through family pictures, especially at the death of a loved one, holds that person ever closer. Their humanity is caught in occasions of celebration, of foolishness, of honor and love. How true the statement “Love never dies.” The bond between us is indeed forever.

Remembering is challenging. We say “never again” to the tragedy of concentration camps and war and abuse of women and children trapped and unprotected. Yet today we see the continuation of heartless power used to dominate, destroy and terrify innocent families and their homes. Dangerous memories must be faced less God’s command of love and mercy, peace and justice be thwarted.

Remembering is sacred. When my mother was very ill and seemingly lost in her own world, a kind nurse reminded me that my mother knew my touch. Many of you know the sacredness of a baby’s first cry and the last breath of a loved one. The “I do” to your spouse at your wedding and then again and again and again is wrapped in awe and humility. When a burden is lifted after God’s mercy is offered in confession or by the forgiveness of another, that time is held sacred. Remembering is what we do each time we gather at Eucharist – we remember, we celebrate, we believe.

Throughout this month we invite you to engage in the comforting, healing, challenging, sacred act of Remembering.

Peace to you,

Sheila

Building Peace One Person at a Time

Maybe it’s that I’m looking older (which I am) or that I’m short (that too) or that it is Christmas time, but I had some notable gestures of quiet kindness recently that left me pondering. The first was at the post office. I felt lucky to get a parking place and was hopeful that the kiosk line would be short. As I stepped out with 5 large boxes, a young gentleman stopped and offered to help. I suspect he couldn’t see my head over the stack of boxes. At first I declined the offer, certain I could do it myself. He smiled and lifted the boxes from my arms. I held the door. Then off he went. The next day after unloading my groceries into my car, another young man (I must remind them of their Grandmothers) came over and offered to return my cart. I let him and gave a grateful smile.

Those are only 2 of the many acts of kindness that I’ve experienced of late and have also observed. Neighbors offered meals to a family caring for their son who is ill and then give gifts and treats to the hospital staff where their son has spent many days. Youth gathered at McCormick Home to play bingo with the residents and then decided to go each month not just at Christmas. An email goes out to Helping Hands for a ride or a meal and within the hour, the need is filled. With all the tragic acts of violence and the fear that has followed, seeing efforts of thoughtfulness plants seeds of hope and of peace- one person at a time.

I’m reminded of a story about a king who sent his armies out to destroy the enemy. When the king went out to check on the progress of his armies, he found them all celebrating with the enemies. They were talking to each other, dancing, eating and drinking and having a good time. The King said to his army, “What is going on? I thought I told you to destroy the enemy.” They replied, “We did, your majesty, we made them our friends.”

We are called to offer mercy as well as to receive it, to create bonds of peace not hatred. So maybe now is the time to welcome a “black sheep” of the family back in to the flock, like the good shepherd. The irritating neighbor might just need a smile on occasion to help him believe in goodness again. Advocating for prison reform, right to life, fair housing, immigration pathways are just a few ways to create friendships that can be lasting. Spend some time visiting with a person from a different faith tradition and learn about their faith. Change the world one person at a time. Isn’t that how the world will really change so God’s kingdom of peace and justice can come here on earth? Peace to all God’s children, near and far, and to you, my dear friends,

Happy New Year!

Sheila DeLuca, Pastoral Associate