Knowing Your Why

Knowing Your Why

 

As this video so beautifully illustrates, knowing what you do isn’t enough. Knowing why you do what you do can free us to be truly inspirational! The Stewardship initiative in the Diocese of Rapid City is all about helping parishes and individuals know their why. We want to assist parishes in becoming more inspirational places where people encounter Christ and learn to live as His disciples! And for the individual? Let our resources teach you some concrete tools that will help you discover those root values that determine your daily choices.

Here are just a few ways we can help:

  • By offering step-by-step assistance for parishes who desire to develop a clear vision and concrete steps to achieve that vision.
  • Resources that can help parishes create the systems and structures that move parishes from maintenance to mission
  • Inspiration and education for individuals that can assist them in embracing a Catholic Way of Life which frees them to be generous in service to the church and community
  • A step-by-step vision for developing robust ministry in all aspects of the parish
Together, let’s find the why for your parish and allow it to inspire pastors and people alike to more joyfully and boldly proclaim and live the mission of Jesus!

We’re here to help

Call us at (605) 716-5214 or fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch soon.

 

10 + 11 =

CHANCERY OFFICE

606 Cathedral Drive
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 343-3541

CHANCERY ANNEX AT TERRA SANCTA

2101 City Springs Rd Ste 200
Rapid City, SD 57702
(605) 716-5214

TERRA SANCTA RETREAT CENTER

2101 City Springs Rd, Ste 300
Rapid City , SD 57702
(605) 716-0925
stay@terrasancta.org

SAFE ENVIRONMENT

Click here to learn more

VICTIM ASSISTANCE COORDINATOR

Barbara Scherr
(605) 209-3418

Introducing . . . .

Introducing…

Our beautiful new Catholic Way of Life blog!

 Back in January I wrote this to our email subscribers:

 “One of the projects we have been working on in the Office of Stewardship is exploring ways to make the information in past weekly emails more accessible and useful for you.  We are going to move Fr. Mark’s Musings from 2015-2018 and the weekly emails I have been writing since July to a blog site which will enable you to search past posts by keywords and tags.  It is my hope that this will be helpful to you. “

 Today I wrote:

Our office has been working on several projects over the past several months.  I shared with you several months ago that I had a desire to convert all of Fr. Mark’s Musings as well as these weekly emails I have been sending since July into a blog.  The Lord took that desire of mine and replied,“Why think so small? Let’s revamp Stewardship’s whole presence on the web!”  So we took a deep breath and dived into the project.

 We are still just at the beginning stages, but the first part of this project, the new blog page, is up and running!  All of the historical “blogs” are up and are fully searchable.  We have categorized them under our pillars:

 We have also tagged them with words we think you would find useful when you are searching for insight and inspiration.  For instance, when Christmas approaches and you would like some great ideas on how to welcome the many guests who will be at your church for the Christmas Masses, just search for “Christmas hospitality” and all that we have written over the years comes up for you.

 Click here to check it out. Also, while you are there, would you take a few minutes to leave a comment?

I am looking forward to providing a spot where we can share information with one another there.  I often receive emails from readers of this weekly email.  They share encouragement, their own stories and experiences, and great tips.  I am sad the rest of you don’t see and share in all the good news I receive!  I am hopeful that the blog will provide a spot for you to share these comments with everyone.  Each week this email will go up on the blog as a post, so please share your good news!

Back in January, I also shared this old post of Fr. Mark’s. It made me laugh and I thought you would enjoy it as well.  After all, “good stewards are always the joyful bearers of the Good News of Salvation.”  I hope you enjoy it!

 From Fr. Mark’s Musings:

On Saturday, I was driving to Martin to cover for the weekend Masses in Martin and Kadoka. About 30 miles from Kadoka a bull snake started to slither up the windshield. Thank goodness it was on the outside.  Nevertheless, my heart started racing and I began to think irrationally about the snake crawling inside the car. What I should have done was to take a couple deep breaths, breathing in the Holy Spirit, pulled over and let the snake crawl off my vehicle and into the ditch—the logical and prudent thing to do. However, my fear got the best of me and I decided to hit the windshield wipers catapulting the snake over the top of the car.

Looking back at this encounter in light of the Bishop’s Pastoral letter, Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response, I was reminded of God’s creation and how I am called as a Christian Steward to care for and cultivate the world with the joyful appreciation for the God-given beauty and wonder of nature—yes this includes even snakes.

 

 

We’re here to help

Call us at (605) 716-5214 or fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch soon.

 

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CHANCERY OFFICE

606 Cathedral Drive
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 343-3541

CHANCERY ANNEX AT TERRA SANCTA

2101 City Springs Rd Ste 200
Rapid City, SD 57702
(605) 716-5214

TERRA SANCTA RETREAT CENTER

2101 City Springs Rd, Ste 300
Rapid City , SD 57702
(605) 716-0925
stay@terrasancta.org

SAFE ENVIRONMENT

Click here to learn more

VICTIM ASSISTANCE COORDINATOR

Barbara Scherr (605) 209-3418

Love Should Be Our Primary Motivation

Love Should Be Our Primary Motivation

“Don’t push where the Holy Spirit is leading.”

Fr. Charles Lachowitzer

On Monday and Tuesday the Bishop, the Chancery staff, most of our priests and many of those who work in parishes were here at Terra Sancta for Pastoral Ministry Days.  Our speaker, Fr. Charles Lachowitzer is the Vicar General for the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis.  He is a man of great wisdom and many of the things he said have me thinking.  There were several times over the course of the two days when I thought to myself, “This echoes our Stewardship initiative!”  For example, Fr. Charles often spoke of the importance of face-to-face invitations in the life of the parish.  In today’s world, the amount of messages we receive can be overwhelming and the face-to-face communications with others becomes even more important (and harder to come by!).  He also spoke highly of our Diocesan pastoral plan and of pastoral planning in general.  He said that parish leadership should have meaningful work that leads toward a vision that has been laid out in a pastoral plan and that a plan can be viewed like a “job listing”; a means by which we can call the gifts of the people forward and facilitate their participation in the mission of Jesus.  But there are two comments he made that stand out to me particularly:

“The people of God have the right to participate in the mission of Jesus and the structures of the church should serve that purpose.” 

Most often I hear pastors and parish leaders express a desire for more “volunteers”, more help in doing the work of the Church.  Often times we lament the lack of catechists in a parish, the reality that “too few people are doing too much of the work”.  But never have I heard someone speak of the right to participate.  What would happen in a parish or school if people stopped viewing requests from others in the parish as unpleasant obligations and instead began asking for the opportunity to exercise a right to participate?  That would be quite a paradigm shift.  And as Fr. Charles said, if all the people in a parish did that, would we be able to handle it?  I don’t know about you, but I would love to see us try!

Fr. Charles also said several times, “Don’t push where the Holy Spirit is leading.”  Hmmm.  Patience, I suppose, is what he is calling for here.  It reminds me of Jesus admonishing St. Peter, “Get behind me Satan!”.  I have often found myself in Peter’s position — I have grasped some truth, glimpsed clearly some part of Jesus’ mission.  Excitedly, I run full speed ahead with my new found knowledge or insight, only to be brought up short when Jesus gently reminds me that I have “run” right past Him and am no longer following the One for whom I am supposed to be working for.  More often than not, this happens when I become too focused on “doing something” to the neglect of loving and serving others.  Fr. Charles very wisely reminded us that often to slow down, to plan well, to take the time to make sure our plans are well communicated with everyone involved, saves a lot of conflict, tension, and chaos later. 

It was a good reminder to me that love should always be our primary motivation in all of our actions.  There is a great deal of satisfaction to be found in being efficient, in checking tasks off of a list; but if in the process we step on toes, ignore people, or exclude those who God may be calling to help, we have not served the mission of Jesus.  The most important “work” that is done in the midst of our “work” is to give and receive the love of God.  St. Teresa of Calcutta used to challenge her sisters to make sure that every person they encountered in the course of their day was better off for having seen or talked with them.  If we were able to do this well, we would surely be serving in the Lord’s vineyard no matter what other tasks and projects were filling up our time.  This seems to me to be the main thing.  And as Stephen Covey says, “the main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing.”  That is my challenge.  Perhaps it is yours as well.

 

“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”

We’re here to help

Call us at (605) 716-5214 or fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch soon.

 

5 + 11 =

CHANCERY OFFICE

606 Cathedral Drive
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 343-3541

CHANCERY ANNEX AT TERRA SANCTA

2101 City Springs Rd Ste 200
Rapid City, SD 57702
(605) 716-5214

TERRA SANCTA RETREAT CENTER

2101 City Springs Rd, Ste 300
Rapid City , SD 57702
(605) 716-0925
stay@terrasancta.org

SAFE ENVIRONMENT

Click here to learn more

VICTIM ASSISTANCE COORDINATOR

Barbara Scherr (605) 209-3418

Mission is King

Mission is King

Recently I have been reading Matthew Kelly’s latest book, “The Culture Solution.”  It is his first secular book in many years and is written primarily for those working in corporations who desire to create a positive work culture.  However, I have been thinking about the principles set forth in the book from the perspective of our Stewardship initiative and the emphasis placed in the Foundational pillar of having a mission and vision statement and a pastoral plan for the parish. 

 Some parishioners have had the courage to honestly share with me that they have seen mission statements come and go over the years; that “we spend a lot of time developing them and then nothing is ever done with them.”  I whole-heartedly agree.  Many times, efforts are made to develop mission and vision statements, develop plans that are never used and soon forgotten, both inside the church and outside it.

However, it does not immediately follow that we should throw the whole idea out.  I am reminded of Chesterton’s often repeated quote,

“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.” 

I think the same argument can be made for strategic planning, from which typically flow mission statements, visions and plans complete with goals.  It’s not that they are inherently without value, it is that using them well is difficult and so very often they are “left untried”.

Instead of abandoning the idea of developing a mission, vision and pastoral plan completely, I would suggest we look at the challenges inherent in using them and work to remedy those challenges.  Why?  In Matthew Kelly’s words, “mission is king.” 

“Every organization needs an unchanging point of reference.  This becomes the organization’s North Star, building confidence on nights when the skies are clear, and pointing the way on stormy nights even if only with glimpses.” 

When speaking of corporations and non-profits, there might be a need to find this “north star”, but in the Church we already have our “North Star”:  it is Jesus Himself.  He is the reason for all that we do. 

Even so, we fall into many pitfalls when we leave our “North Star” that vague, when we don’t take the time to prayerfully discern what aspect of Jesus’ mission He is calling us to participate in in this time and in this place.  One such pitfall becomes clear to me in light of the Gospel story in Matthew chapter 16:13-23.  Just after Peter declares Jesus to be the Messiah, the Son of the Living God, Jesus begins to share with them that he was going to suffer, die and be raised.  “Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.”  Jesus then strongly scolds him saying, “Get behind me, Satan!  You are an obstacle to me.  You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

In my own life, I have many times been Peter.  I come to an understanding of some aspect of who Jesus is and what He desires from us and I take this truth and run with it.  Oftentimes, I am so busy on this “mission” that I fail to notice I have run right past Jesus, whom I am supposedly following.  Like Peter, I am in need of a rebuke – a reminder that I need to “get behind me.” 

The reality is, whenever we vow to follow Jesus, we rarely have a sense of the whole plan from his perspective.  As Henri Nouwen says,

“He gives us enough light for the next step and the rest is faith.” 

The only way we can be sure that we will continue to make the next right step, is if we are constantly begging the Lord for direction.  The human tendency is to begin a work for the Lord and then very quickly let it become “our” work, “our” ministry.  We take ownership, we get comfortable, we know best, we want to continue doing what we have always done and we often get off track.  We no longer have our eyes on the North Star (Jesus); we are doing our own navigation. 

If we truly want His Mission to be King and to remain King, then we need to prayerfully develop a mission, vision and pastoral plan for our parish that is rooted in prayer and discernment.  Then we need to avoid the pitfalls of not following through on the direction this plan is leading us by setting up systems which promote, reward and encourage the fulfillment of the plan.  Most importantly, our systems and structures need to root our churches in prayer and give us a concrete, planned way to return regularly to the True Navigator and beg for direction for the next step. 

We’re here to help

Call us at (605) 716-5214 or fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch soon.

 

11 + 12 =

CHANCERY OFFICE

606 Cathedral Drive
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 343-3541

CHANCERY ANNEX AT TERRA SANCTA

2101 City Springs Rd Ste 200
Rapid City, SD 57702
(605) 716-5214

TERRA SANCTA RETREAT CENTER

2101 City Springs Rd, Ste 300
Rapid City , SD 57702
(605) 716-0925
stay@terrasancta.org

SAFE ENVIRONMENT

Click here to learn more

VICTIM ASSISTANCE COORDINATOR

Barbara Scherr (605) 209-3418

LESS IS MORE!

LESS IS MORE!

Last week a friend shared with me that earlier in the month he had a discussion with a few other men and some were lamenting the fact that they had 4 or 5 different Advent daily reflections being delivered to their email inbox.  Some were overwhelmed and felt like “failures” because they couldn’t get all of them read each day.  Too much of a good thing had quickly turned into a bad thing.

The solution?  “Just do 1 reflection and do it well!  Hit the delete button on the other four and don’t feel guilty about it,” my friend advised.

This is such a common problem in our culture.  We swim in the message that “more is better” and we believe it.  Very soon we are drowning in too many good options, ideas, programs and activities.  The good things we are trying to do to draw closer to the Lord or serve His mission become a source of stress and simply add to an already over-filled calendar. 

The Lord is inviting us to unclutter our hearts and find silence and instead we are drawn into even more frenzied activity. As I visit with parish leaders, I see this same thing happening within parishes and in our ministries as well.   Many people feel overwhelmed with too much to do already and feel pressured to take on more projects and tasks at every turn.

I don’t believe the Lord intends our service to His mission to foster this lack of peace and I am hopeful that the Characteristics of a Stewardship Parish can assist parishes in fighting this tendency.  

The Characteristics can provide a framework that encourages strategic planning, team building and communication.  These tools can help clarify our mission, discern priorities and let go of programs and tasks that are not fruitful.  They can help build a more positive and collaborative culture within the parish that energizes those who participate in its ministry.  The Characteristics can also provide standards that help us all strive for excellence and keep our focus on the New Evangelization.  These tools used by those whose lives are firmly rooted in prayer can be very fruitful.

In those parishes where ministry seems to be vibrant and parish leaders remain energized and positive, I see leaders who have taken the approach of taking on one or two things at a time and doing them well.  

Faithful but small steps taken day after day cover a large amount of ground in the long run.  I have also observed them planning well so their direction is clear, and they aren’t tempted to get off track by the newest fad or trend.  They have structures in place and culture which encourages them to keep reminding each other of the goals they have set and primary reason they are there. They strive to be encouraging and inspirational and to pray and work for the perseverance to keep going; knowing that it isn’t about programs, it is about a Catholic Way of Life.  I am looking forward to working alongside parishes and celebrating the successes along the way in 2019! 

Merry Christmas! 

 

 

We’re here to help

Call us at (605) 716-5214 or fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch soon.

 

6 + 12 =

CHANCERY OFFICE

606 Cathedral Drive
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 343-3541

CHANCERY ANNEX AT TERRA SANCTA

2101 City Springs Rd Ste 200
Rapid City, SD 57702
(605) 716-5214

TERRA SANCTA RETREAT CENTER

2101 City Springs Rd, Ste 300
Rapid City , SD 57702
(605) 716-0925
stay@terrasancta.org

SAFE ENVIRONMENT

Click here to learn more

VICTIM ASSISTANCE COORDINATOR

Barbara Scherr (605) 209-3418