Thursday, April 28, 2011

2011-12 Ministry Opportunity: SPIRITUS, Wisconsin

From Leah Thibodeau, director:

Happy Easter! I am writing in hopes that you might be able to spread the word about our ministry opportunity here at Mount Tabor Center in Menasha, Wisconsin, called SPIRITUS.

We have an immediate need for young adults between 21-29 years of age who want to ignite the faith of thousands of young Catholics. Our SPIRITUS Team travels throughout Wisconsin giving retreats and programs to Catholic youth in grades 3-12. Not only is this an excellent opportunity to serve the Lord, but SPIRITUS Team members acquire many valuable life skills: proven ability to work in a team; increased confidence; and first-hand experience as a leader in our faith community.

Please visit us at to learn more about this vital ministry. The videos on the website really give you an idea of what SPIRITUS is all about.

(Flyer available in the Suite!)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"Catholics On Call" youth conference August 2011: application deadline extended to June 6th

From their website:

Summer Program: August 9-13, 2011

Is your PDA overflowing with appointments and events this summer? Work, weddings, family vacations, ballgames, business seems to never stop.

Maybe you need some time and space away from the pace of your everyday life, an alternative vacation. Time to learn how to discern and how to listen -- to yourself, and to God.

Every summer, Catholics On Call hosts an annual four-day program at Catholic Theological Union (CTU) in Chicago. This experience is designed for women and men (ages 18 to 30) who may be thinking about a life of service in the Church as a lay minister, religious sister or brother, or priest, and those who are undecided and want guidance in determining how God is calling them.

* Pray together, share your stories, dreams, and concerns, andenjoy the company of like-minded young adults.
* Hear nationally-known speakers offer insights about how to listen to God’s call in our lives.
* Meet outstanding church ministers who share the stories of their service and how they came to hear God’s call.
* Learn discernment skills and different styles of prayer.

The summer program provides a relaxed, comfortable environment for your personal discernment. It won’t be an experience of recruitment to any church group or community. Rather, it is a chance to listen to the voice of God, as God speaks within you and through others.

Learn more about the 2011 conference and download the application form!

This is what participants say about the conference:

“It was an amazing experience, one that I cannot fully express the enormous impact on my life and my relationship with God.”

“It gave me time to intentionally reflect, in community with others, on God's will for my life--where I've been, where I'm going.”

“Catholics on Call allowed me, for the first time, to be open to God's call in my life and not be afraid of what that could mean.”

All the information and application here.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Blessed Holy Week! Are you becoming holier?

This is an interesting summary of an article that provides a thoughtful checklist for people discerning the priesthood--although it seems obvious to me that the categories are appropriate for any growing Christian!

A snippet from the online summary:

Here are Fr. Cole's indicators, simplified in the form of nine questions, which suggest the key areas in which we should honestly look for continual growth:
  1. Am I God-centered? This addresses the question of whether we think ourselves the center of the universe, in which case we are likely to be tense, negative and critical. We discern progress here if we come more easily to see the good in others, to accept the dispositions of Providence cheerfully, and to trust in God even in the midst of trials and temptations.

  2. Do I take joy in serving others? There may be times when either our normal duties or interruptions in our routine demand that we occupy ourselves with tasks we do not particularly enjoy, primarily for the benefit of others. We are growing in charity if we find such services easier to perform over time, especially with a sincere desire to be of benefit, and if we gain the ability to remain recollected and prayerful even when doing something we do not naturally enjoy.

  3. Do I hate sin? As time goes on, if we are growing spiritually, we should be increasingly averse not only to great sins but to lesser ones. We should be developing a progressively stronger resolve to avoid anything – including objectively innocent pursuits – which can be an obstacle to our union with God. And of course we should be actively seeking the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit, which are the opposite of the disposition to sin.

  4. Is my conscience delicate? This is closely related, and refers to the need to become ever more sensitive in discerning what is displeasing to God. In the beginning, for example, we may wish to avoid adultery but think nothing of flirting or stealing the odd kiss or two. In time, true growth demands that we more clearly perceive the sinful attitudes at work across the board. Then we will become more watchful over our virtue, even in our thoughts, and we'll also more easily distinguish among degrees of sin, and between temptation and sin.

  5. Am I humble? To use Fr. Basil's own words, a sense of humility "means a submission to whatever God desires in the moment, even if it means being unknown or unrecognized." Pride and vainglory lead us to be calculating in all that we do, in order to increase in stature before the world. But God wants our personal surrender to Himself and to those who, in each moment, represent His will.

  6. Am I faithful in prayer? If we prefer to lose ourselves in a constant whirl of activity, and find that we are uncomfortable being alone with God in the silence of our hearts, we'll go backwards. Spiritual growth is marked by a growing willingness to put ourselves in the presence of God, even if we suffer from dryness or distractions in prayer.

  7. Do my decisions reflect truth and prudence? As we grow spiritually, we should become more adept at knowing when to seek counsel, yet we should also be increasingly able to advise others, or act quickly and decisively ourselves, in ways that will still seem spiritually right after the fact. We should grow in our capacity to size up each situation properly and apply the right virtue and the right solution to each challenge.

  8. Is my heart undivided? Simply put, this question asks whether we allow various interests and attachments to conflict with our thirst for God or whether we are gradually developing a more ordered appreciation of all good things in, through and for God, in proper relationship to Him. Especially with things we particularly enjoy, we should be praying and working to see them in the light of Christ.

  9. Do I love the Church? To again quote Fr. Basil, "the institutional Church is the unsullied Bride of Christ through which He gives Himself and His graces to a flawed people in need of enlightenment and purification from sin." Each day, each moment, we should find ourselves loving the Church more and more wholeheartedly, despite her all too evident human flaws. If that is not happening, it is a sure sign we are backsliding.

Again, food for thought...especially this week.

Friday, April 15, 2011

"How Catholics Work Together: Ten Common Strengths and Weaknesses of Church-Based Organizations"

Written by a group that focuses on Catholic leadership

The Spitzer Center has worked with dozens of Catholic organizations, from parishes and dioceses to schools and health care systems.  Our experience has shown us that there’s a constellation of traits – both strengths and weakness – that define the type of culture more typically found in a Catholic workplace. There are areas in which Church-based organizations do well but businesses tend to struggle. There are also practices more common in the business world that Catholic leaders might wish to emulate.

Please bear in mind that what follows are generalizations. They aren’t true of all the organizations we’ve worked with, or all groups within a given organization.  Let me start with the strengths and move on to the weakness, since the latter sometimes results from taking the former a bit too far.

Read the article to see what the strengths and weaknesses are.  Some food for thought.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Happy Feast Day of St. John Baptiste de la Salle!

Who is this?  A major Lasallian scholar, Br. Gerard Rummery spoke at SMU last year. He has a lovely reflection on St. John Baptiste de la Salle here. Worth the seven minutes!

Happy Feast Day of St. John Baptiste de la Salle! And tell that to a brother today as well.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Happy de la Salle week!

See you at the Founder's Day mass and convocation, Tuesday!  If you can, please participate in some of the many, many events going on this week on campus....

ESTEEM: "The Church's Future. Now."

Interesting new movement for Catholic college seniors, piloting at (mostly) secular schools with Newman programs...but of interest to college students thinking about lay ministry anywhere?

From the website: ESTEEM is a nationwide program to develop the leadership skills of young Catholics. Employing a multifaceted approach, ESTEEM provides college students with the inspiration and tools for deeper engagement in the life and witness of the Church. An initiative of the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management and Saint Thomas More Catholic Chapel & Center at Yale, ESTEEM focuses on the core competencies of spirituality, education, community and service.

There is also more about the new program here.