Parish Spiritual Development memo Fall 2019
DATE: September 30, 2019
FROM: Shari Guinta, first vice-president and national chairperson of spiritual development
TO: Parish chairpersons of spiritual development
As mentioned previously, I encourage having prayer services before meetings and offering workshops, retreats and programs for members and parishioners. Like Lent, Advent is rich with prayer services and beautiful retreat offerings from which members could benefit.
Although many council meetings begin with mass, I encourage planning at a minimum an opening and closing prayer or reflection for all meetings. Consider using the many prayers and services offered as League resources on the national website. Ask members what they want. At the end of each year or the beginning of a new year, I suggest offering members a questionnaire to quickly and easily complete. Consider asking questions such as:
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Spiritual Development communique
Care for Our Common Home
During the last day of the Provincial Executive Meetings in January, the executive discussed the focus Alberta Mackenzie should take on the theme. “How about we:
Make a Difference
It may not be easy for us as Catholics to embrace this topic, particularly here in western Canada where our very livelihoods could be resting on the oil and gas industry which is taking a big hit from the environmental lobby groups. How can we manage both sides of this issue; the environmental struggle; -the earth is suffering; our families and neighbors are struggling to keep food on the table?
I think we need to look TO Laudato Si written by Pope Francis for inspiration in this. It is not a simple issue of right or wrong, but more a matter of weighing the sides to determine how we can reach a solution/resolution to these issues to ensure our earth is here for many generations to come.
A readers’ guide to Laudato Si’
There are many resources on-line which we can use to assist us in our prayer and studies. One I found particularly useful is “A readers’ guide to Laudato Si’" by Jesuit Fr. Thomas Reese at https://www.ncronline.org/blogs/faith-and-justice/readers-guide-laudato-si. It is a tool which can be downloaded and used in your meetings or at workshops and takes the reader through the 6 chapters of Laudato Si’ posing questions for discussion. This could be broken up into monthly book club workshops during council meetings to understand the encyclical in greater depth and develop a dialogue about caring for our common home.
Keep in mind, there is more than one way to solve any issue. What reaches out to you and your council from each chapter? There has to be a solution and we must trust that God will show us the way.
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Provincial Spiritual Development Chair
Spiritual Development memo Fall 2018
This committee can be challenging, rewarding and educational as well! Being appointed chairperson of spiritual development by the national president made my heart skip a beat at the 98th annual national convention held in Winnipeg, Manitoba last August, but I have always felt that God not only leads us to places of challenge, but gives us the grace to deal with it. What we do, we do for Him.
“But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers…” James 1.17-18, 21-22,27
Taken from the 2nd reading 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time.
The spiritual development and education of members is an important part of this committee and there is no better place or focus than in the parish. It takes some work to plan good programs and services for members. Don’t scrimp! Look for devotional material from various resources and share your findings with council members.
a) spiritual growth of members
b) study of Catholic teachings
c) role of women in the church
d) evangelization and mission assistance
e) lay ministries
f) ecumenism and interfaith endeavours
- Use the League Prayers
- Look for prayers that are associated with the national theme.
- Try something new!
- Read scripture and use members of the assembly in the prayers and services. Let them read and lead.
- When reading scripture, use the bible. Don’t just type it out on a piece of paper or use the script written in the program.
- Get your spiritual advisor involved. Ask for some assistance and if he/she is at the meeting or the service, have them DO something. Choose prayers that suit the time and/or the season. Rather than use a Lenten service in May, consider choosing something more appropriate to Mary.
- Are there ecumenical conferences that you can be a part of?
- Support the missions, especially Catholic Missions In Canada, one of the permanent voluntary funds for national council.
- Investigate Lectio Divina and Shorter Christian Prayer (I will share more information on these in future communiques).
Encourage diocesan councils to offer spiritual days, programs and retreats, and encourage members to attend them. Consider teaming up with other councils in your area to host the events.
I expect to learn a lot these next two years. I humbly ask for your prayers to help me be a “doer of the Word.” May God bless you in all that you DO.
National Chairperson of Spiritual Development
October 5, 2018