The Word from the Street Print
Written by Sherry   
Tuesday, 17 June 2008 05:17
Called & Gifted news from all over:

This saga from Sandy, one of our trainee Called & Gifted teachers from Orange, CA this weekend: She said that the taxi driver who picked her up at O'Hare was from the Dominican Republic. In a way that I forget, the subject of faith came up. He starting grinning from ear to ear, telling her in animated terms about his conversion from a life of drugs and how he wanted to serve and please Jesus. Sandy asked him if there was a special woman in his life and he seemed a bit flustered but tried to explain" "No mam, I was impure before and I want to keep myself pure for Jesus. My mother doesn't understand."

At which point Sandy made an inspired guess "you may have a charism of celibacy". She said he was so startled, he nearly drove off the road. "That's it, mam, that's it!" And so they talked about the charism of celibacy until he dropped her off. "Can I take you back to the airport, mam, so we can talk some more about this?" he asked.

And this tale from Barbara, one of our local champions in chicago-land. She was doing a one-on-one session (which we call interviews) with a woman who attended their recent Called & Gifted workshop and the woman told her:

"I was on the verge of leaving the Church for a Protestant group. I was so discouraged. I just couldn't seem to find the help that I needed to grow in my faith in the Catholic Church. But after the Called & Gifted, it suddenly occurred to me that maybe I was supposed to offer my gifts to the Catholic community rather than primarily focus upon being fed."

And this from Mary Sharon, one of our teachers in Eugene who has spent a lot of time in western Kansas teaching C & G's::

"Our ministries received favorable mention recently in an article concerning the June 1st "DRE Day," in the Southwest Kansas Register (bimonthly newspaper for the Diocese of Dodge City):

Called and Gifted

Designed to help people recognize gifts of the Holy Spirit (charisms) that are at work in their life. Nearly 800 people from across the diocese have participated in the 17 Called and Gifted workshops that have been held in southwest Kansas.

"Why is it important to know your charisms?" asked Becky Hessman, coordinator of the Called and Gifted process. "Charisms are a major clue in discovering God’s plan for your life. By Baptism and Confirmation, we are called and gifted by God to fulfill a unique vocation."

For more information, call Becky at (620) 227-1530."


Vocations coordinator Becky Hessman is passionate about helping men and women of all ages discover their vocation in life.

Imagine the parish, the diocese, in which everyone actively expects God’s calling and has the competence to discern God’s desire for their life. A DVD, which was shown during the day, features Mary Sharon Moore, founder of Awakening Vocations. Moore says, "Stop believing that vocation discernment is for someone else. Vocation discernment is for you." ###

(Sherry's note: To give you some perspective, Dodge City is one of the smallest dioceses in the US with about 42,000 Catholics. The Chicagoland parish I was in last weekend had 22,000 members and was 1/2 the size of the entire Diocese of Dodge City. In Dodge, practically every leader in the diocese from Bishop Gilmore on down, has been through the Called & Gifted. 800 attendees would be almost 2% of the total Catholic population. I've probably spent a month of my life driving across western Kansas!)

And then there is this from Cathy, one of our new teachers from the Diocese of Orange: Bishop Tod Brown, in a recent pastoral letter on Adult Faith Formation, wrote this:

“Recently I have been reflecting on what has happened since the release of my Pastoral Letter Learning, Loving and Living Our Faith. It is hard to believe it has been just over a year since the challenge went out for adults in the Diocese of Orange to re-focus their priorities to include a deepening of their knowledge about what it means to be Catholic. I have encouraged the Office of Faith Formation to make this adult focus their priority also. I am pleased to report that they have taken steps to help parishes identify ways to move in this direction and provided them with the support it takes to do so.

A second area offering great promise, Called and Gifted, is a collaborative effort between stewardship and faith
formation. The initial training attracted 68 people from 22 parishes. The training introduced people to the signs and
characteristics of the 24 most common spiritual gifts and helped participants begin the discernment process of discovering
their charisms—“special gifts of the Holy Spirit bestowed on individuals for the good of others, the needs of the world, and
in particular for the building up of the Church” (Compendium CCC, 160). Just think what ministry in the diocese might be
like if everyone had a chance to discern their individual charisms and be matched with a ministry where that gift could be
used to its fullest!

There seems to be an ever-present desire in people to learn more about themselves. In the coming months, consider
participating in the additional workshops in this area, along with the necessary training to build parish teams. It will be most
effective when parishes can provide training for parishioners on site. "

It's been what you could call a long obedience. 15 years this summer, I was sketching out the first workshop for 20 as a volunteer in Seattle. A million air miles, 360 live workshops, 40,000 + inventories circulating, thousands of Catholics trained to facilitate the discernment of others, tens of thousands of personal conversations.

Now when diocesan staff call and I ask "how did you hear about us?", they say, as did the young man I talked to yesterday: "I have been hearing good things about your Institute for years. Several of our leaders have been through your Called & Gifted workshop and I've read some of your material on the internet."

Nibbled to death by a persistent minnow. Never underestimate what God will do through a long series of small obediences.