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Stewardship Corner

On March 7, 2009, the Stewardship Committee sponsored a workshop for all parish volunteers entitled “Ministry - serving with an evangelizing heart”. The workshop was presented by Sr. Louis Alff, O.S.F., Coordinator of Parish Evangelization for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Sister is a dynamic and engaging speaker, and her talk was enthusiastically received by all who attended.

Sr. Louise’s talk was centered on the premise that “(t)here is no better evangelization method than to have a lively parish where all the ministers are conscious of their evangelizing potential.” Sister pointed out that embedded in the word evangelization, is the word angel, and that an angel is after all a messenger of God. Wouldn’t we all like to be considered as angels?

During the workshop, Sister Louise used a familiar quote from St. Francis, “Preach the Gospel at all times, when necessary, use words.”

Sister challenged us to find the ways in which we can preach the Gospel without words. As a disciple of Christ we do this through our interaction with one another, our day to day contact with people in the workplace, in stores, at school, but especially through our service to our church and our community in our ministries.

Sister Louise began the program with the definition of Baptism from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (no. 1272). “Incorporated into Christ by Baptism, the person baptized is configured to Christ. Baptism seals the Christian with the indelible spiritual mark of his belonging to Christ. Baptism marks us permanently as belonging to Christ, whose image we bear.”

Once we are baptized, God will always recognize us by our “indelible spiritual mark”. As Luke’s gospel tells us, this mark shows that “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19) In other words, we become Messengers of God (Angels).

After our discussion of Baptism, through which we become disciples of Christ, we talked about what it means to be a disciple. Sr. Louise explained that the word disciple is from the Greek word mathetes which means “the learner.” Sister pointed out that a disciple is an intentional follower of Christ who shares a close and intimate relationship with Christ. Discipleship is lived out in community. A disciple is marked by five attributes: 1) we put on Christ, 2) we live the Pascal Mystery, 3) we adopt an Attitude of Gratitude, 4) we are observant, and 5) we continue to grow.

Our challenge here is to show the world that we are disciples of Christ. We must: put on Christ—live so that everyone we meet can see by our actions and how we treat them that we are followers of Jesus; live the Pascal Mystery—wake each morning knowing that this day and every day I will be renewed through the Father’s love; be grateful both for the opportunity to use our talents to serve others and for those who share in the work of our ministries; observe the people with whom we work to be sure that all are being served and that all who serve know that they are appreciated; and continue to grow in our faith by spending some quiet time to grow closer to the Lord and by growing in our service to others in our ministries.

Sr. Louise made a few final points at our workshop entitled, Ministry: Serving with an Evangelizing Heart?

  1. Evangelization means bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ into every human situation and seeking to convert individuals and society by the divine power of the Gospel itself. (On Evangelization in the Modern World, #18).
  2. Ministry is based on a word for service. It is any service offered to help the Church fulfill its mission. (The Catholic Faith Handbook, pg 417).
  3. We engage in Evangelizing Ministry when we minister as a disciple, inviting people to grow and be part of the community.

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