January 7, 2018

Happy New Year!

Some years I really put thought into my New Year’s resolutions. I try to look at different aspects of my life—career, relationship, financial, health and fitness—and consider resolutions in each category.  It’s the Chinese menu system.   Pick one in each category for a fulfilling new year.

I always get stuck when it comes to the spirituality category.  What to do?

As I see it, I have the important stuff covered.  Mass attendance.  Daily prayers.   Living by the Golden Rule.  Check.  Check.  Check.  And heck, I give myself bonus points for    attending all sorts of special liturgies throughout the year as part of my planning work.  (Wonder if I can give myself fitness points too for all that extra stretching I’m doing patting myself on the back?) 

But in reality, what can I do to enrich my spiritual life?

Well, my 2018 resolution in this category is clear, attainable and easy:  I’ll be an active participant in the Be My Witness initiative.

For the last year or so, teams of good-hearted folks have been working on this project.  Some of their work has been visible—like the surveys we’ve been taking after Mass—but much of it has been behind the scenes.  The end result of all their hard work is a six-week faith sharing program that will run parishwide during Lent.

For those of you who’ve been around a bit, this is a version of Small Christian Communities—in fact, Be My Witness is put together by Renew International who got this movement started here in the mid-eighties and again in 2000.   SCCs have the very laudable goal of bringing communities together--of making our larger Church smaller.

 We have  a wonderful group of parishioners who have stepped up to be leaders.  Sessions will be scheduled for days, evenings and weekends. All the details will be forthcoming, but for now, I want you to start  thinking about fit.

 A few months ago, I wrote about one of our original Small  Christian Communities who have been meeting pretty  consistently since the mid-eighties.  The night I went to the meeting,  Jane Ainsworth, Natalie Bayci, Kathy Wise and Yvonne Callans warmly welcomed me in to their group.  At the time, I wrote “Our conversation was candid, pertinent and real.  At some point, I completely dropped my “observer” status and began sharing with the group.  These ladies were so welcoming and kind.”

A month or so later, I sat in on another long-time group’s meeting.  This one was facilitated by Judie Renz and the   meeting was hosted by Sergio and Bev Murer.  All the same descriptors apply—candid, pertinent, real, welcoming and kind—but this group had a different tone and vibe.  Lots of differing opinions, ideas and observations…a few even on those more sensitive topics your mother told you not to bring up at the    dinner table.   And most remarkably in this day and age, the members of this large group were able to disagree with others without being disagreeable.  I loved the energy of the evening.

I bring this up as an example of fit.  Both groups were aligned in purpose, but each has its own personality.   The same will be true of our Lenten groups.  But how do you decide what is your fit?

Well the BMW planning team came up with a brilliant idea: Taste of Be My Witness.  The weekend of January 20-21, after all Masses, you can sit in on a mini-version of a typical meeting.  That will give you a good idea of the meeting format and provide an opportunity to meet the leaders. 

I love this whole concept! So many times uncertainty makes us wishy-washy about even trying something new. With Taste of Be My Witness, you invest 30 minutes or so after Mass in January and you’ll have a fair idea of what to expect in February. 

Some of our leaders will be speaking at Mass in the next few weeks.  Hear them out and then plan to come for a “Taste” January 20-21!

Eileen Hooks Gutierrez
Director of Development and Projects Liaison
straysdevelopment@yahoo.com, 815-722-6653, extension 242



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