You might have heard me talking briefly over the last few weeks about something called “Called and Gifted”. If not, you will hear more about it over the next few weeks!
Briefly, the Called and Gifted process aims to help us discover the charisms or ‘spiritual gifts’ which each of us have been given in baptism. These are different to (though they might complement) our natural or learnt gifts and talents. Charisms are given to us freely by the Holy Spirit specifically for the building up of the Kingdom of God, and so are to be used for the good of the world and for others and never for anything harmful. When we use our charisms we feel energized, we feel as if ‘we’ve found our place’ or that we ‘fit’. We are effective without undue struggle.
Examples of charisms include: hospitality, mercy, encouragement (pastoral charisms); administration, leadership, service (organizational charisms); healing, intercessory prayer (healing charisms); music, writing (creative charisms); evangelism, teaching (communication charisms); faith, voluntary poverty (lifestyle charisms); knowledge, wisdom (charisms of understanding). All of us who have been baptised have received charisms, because God, as Blessed John Henry Newman says, has some definite plan or service for each and every one of us.
The Called and Gifted process consists of a workshop, a one-hour ‘discernment interview’ and an optional (though strongly encouraged) follow-on group discernment.
We have been chosen to be the first parish in the diocese (and I think that means the UK!) to host this workshop, which will help participants realise that Christ calls each of them to participate in his work and to a particular vocation; and that our charisms are given by the Holy Spirit for our mission in life. It will also help us learn to discern our own charisms. What a wonderful opportunity!
I would very much like to invite each and every one of you over the age of 16 to consider signing up for the workshop, which will take place on Fri 17th Oct, 7-pm and Sat 18th Oct, 9am-5pm here in St. Joseph’s, Basingstoke. (There will also be an optional morning mass at 8:15am).
Sign up sheets are in the Foyer or you can speak with Nikki Pink in the Parish Office. Thank you
Please give this some time for thoughtful and prayerful reflection. If you want to know more you can speak to me or to one of those who took part in the diocesan workshop in June. I would really love to see you there.
Big Church, Small Groups
One of the things which people were asking for when we had our day of reflection last year, and which the PPC have promised to deliver on, is “Small Groups”. These are places which:
(a) build community and belonging in our parish;
(b) develops real friendships in Christ;
(c) give us a safe place to work out our personal faith/life issues;
(d) offer us a structured, scheduled time to refocus our lives on the Lord;
(e) allow participants to discover other people in the community who can help them on their journey;
(f) help us to accept others and ourselves as flawed human beings striving towards God;
(g) allows the example of others in the group to inspire us to do better;
(h) helps prepare us to share the joy of the Gospel with others and invite them to a friendship with Christ;
(i) bring us a whole heap of other benefits, for ourselves and the parish and the wider community!
We hope to launch these small groups in Jan 2016, which might seem like a long way off but it allows time to train the leaders and prepare ourselves through prayer. If you would like to consider being trained as a leader, please participate in the Called and Gifted process, and please speak to Fr Mark or leave your name with Nikki in the office. With every best wish and blessing for an exciting future
(We have over 50 parishioners already signed up—still places available but we will need to know next week if you would like to reserve a place for catering and resource purposes. Thank you!)