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Written by Michael Fones   
Friday, 15 January 2010 19:23
Sherry and I returned from Houston this afternoon, after a very successful three days with the Companions of the Cross. Some 35 priests and three (of their 15) seminarians had all gone through the Called & Gifted workshop, and most had had a personal gifts interview afterward (thanks to Mary Sharon Moore, our intrepid phone interviewer). We led them through some of the material from Making Disciples, especially the information on pre-discipleship spiritual thresholds and the threshold conversation. We also gave them a shortened interviewer training, and talked about the implications of discipleship and discernment in the parish environment.

It was a marvelous three days. The community is orthodox, charismatic, relaxed, and fun to be around. The fellows genuinely enjoy one another's company, laugh easily, and tease one another, well, like brothers. They sing together beautifully, often spontaneously breaking into harmony. Sherry and I were both at ease, and it was great to receive so much affirmation from them. We both agreed that there doesn't seem to be an undercurrent of anger that we so often find in different corners of the Church.

I suppose I should briefly explain. Depending upon the group, there might be anger directed towards society in general (or aspects of our society), or the hierarchy, or charismatics, or traditionalists, or progressives, or the laity - it all depends upon who you're dealing with. It can be disheartening. Not that there aren't aspects of our culture that should make us angry, like the tragedy of abortion, or consumerism, or militarism. It's just that generally the anger isn't directed towards ideas or statements or events, but at people; and the fact that they are still beloved children of God is easily forgotten.

At any rate, there didn't seem to be any of that. They're a young society - only 25 years old - and are dedicated to evangelization and parish renewal, as well as working among the poor and marginalized. All that we're trying to do at the Institute seems to fit what they are attempting in the parishes and oratories that they staff in Canada and the U.S. I suspect - and pray - that our paths will be crossing more in the future, God willing.

And yes, they are the only religious community I know of with their own hockey team. In this case, called, appropriately enough, "Men in Black."

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