Listening to the Spirit: Parish Discernment Sessions
In the early years of the Roman Empire, Rome had conquered the entire Mediterranean world and God’s people were once again oppressed by a foreign nation. God’s answer was to send His only Son to die and rise again for the reconciliation of humanity with Him. Jesus did not come then to rule or to overthrow the political order. He came to call a people to Himself so that they could live in peace, joy, and love even in the midst of an unjust and broken society. In time, that people would spread, and the world would be transformed by God’s grace through them.
This pattern is repeated throughout history. By the early 500s, the people Romans called barbarians had come and sacked Rome and the center of empire was in Constantinople instead of in Rome. What society remained was a shadow of its former glory and corruption reigned. God’s answer was to send St. Benedict to live a life of balance and order and to begin the Western monastic movement which preserved culture in a time of upheaval. In a time of feudal decadence and worldliness, God’s answer was to send St. Francis of Assisi and St. Dominic to model a life of detachment, simplicity, and focus on God.
"God’s answer was to send St. Francis of Assisi and St. Dominic to model a life of detachment, simplicity, and focus on God."
What is God’s answer for our own time? How does God call us to live our Faith in a way that transforms the world? The one who knows is God. We have big questions, and we do not know the answers. How are we to help young adults to go deeper in their Faith? How can our children be nourished by the sacraments throughout their lives? How can we bring back our loved ones who have fallen away from the practice of their Faith? God is the one with the answers to these kinds of questions. So let us ask Him.
The Parish Discernment Sessions are designed to allow the Holy Spirit to speak to us in answer to these and other important questions we face everyday in our parishes. Part of the Eucharistic Revival, the Parish Discernment Sessions are times for the members of a parish to gather together, to pray, to discuss important questions, and to listen to how the Holy Spirit is leading us to spread the love and mercy to those we love. We want answers to these questions, so let us turn to God and ask for His guidance.
"We want answers to these questions, so let us turn to God and ask for His guidance."
Click here (scroll to the bottom and click on “Parish Discernment Sessions Overview”) for a pdf of the sequence of the sessions and the questions they will be investigating.
Pastors or those they delegate can contact me to set up a time for members of the Diocesan Eucharistic Revival Team to come and facilitate the first session. More information will be communicated at that first session that will help you plan for the other sessions. You will understand these sessions, their intent, and their method more after you have attended the first session.
Come, Holy Spirit!
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Dr. Seth Wright
Director of Missionary Discipleship
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