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Called & Gifted and "The Gap" PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Monday, 15 June 2009 07:55
Sherry Curp made me aware of something that Rae Stabosz wrote for the Christifedeles listserve after attending the May 29/30 Called & Gifted workshop in Bloomingdale, IL taught by the inspired team of Keith Strohm (newly returned to Chicago and an ID contributor) and Amy & Charlie Hoover of Des Moines, Iowa.

I got Rae's permission to share her impressions and then added a few comments of my own.


I also wanted to tell you about my experience with the Called and Gifted Workshop I took in Bloomingdale, Illinois last month. The workshop is one given by the St. Catherine of Siena Institute, a program out of the Western Dominican Province with headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The institute is "dedicated to equipping parishes for the formation of lay Catholics for their mission in the world." They run the blog, Intentional Disciples, which I have subtitled "The Two Sherries" on my blogroll because Sherry Weddell is a co-founder of the Institute and Sherry Curp is a member and instructor.

I've been watching their calendar in hopes of catching a workshop given further East, and jumped on the chance to attend one that was on the outskirts of Chicago, where Bill's siblings live. We combined a family visit with me attending the workshop, last month. It was, quite simply, wonderful, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

You know how kids can go to Mass and say, "I don't get anything out of it?", and complain that the liturgy isn't exciting enough? But we know that the value is in the depths, not the externals, even though bad externals can distract us from what's really going on.

The Called and Gifted Workshop wasn't "exciting". The externals were ordinary - a parish hall, a laptop projected to show PowerPoint slides at appropriate times, handouts, prayer and song to begin each day. The three instructors were skilled and at ease, but were not putting on a show.

It was the content that I found enlightening. This FAQ about the Spiritual Gifts Discernment Program, of which the Called and Gifted Workshop is a component, may give you a better idea that I could give.

Snip. (i'll get back to this later)

Catholics are used to their most vigorous and committed members being drawn to the priesthood and the religious life. But the teachings of the Church about the laity in the last 150 years have made it clear that the lay vocation has a call to discipleship different from, but every bit as vital as, those who are professed and ordained. The ordained serve primarily the People of God. The People of God serve the world in which they live and work.

The Called and Gifted Workshop has given me keys to understanding, and tools to explore, how God is calling me specifically to carry out my own mission as a lay disciple.. I heartily recommend it to one and all.

They are doing a terrific work. A very Dominican work!

Thanks to Rae for her very kind words!

The paragraph that I snipped is below because I wanted to comment on it:

"How much was lost in the Protestant Revolt/Reformation? My encounters with Catholics who "swam the Tiber" from various Protestant faith communities has made me mourn for what the Church lost when it fragmented, and what it is gaining as some of the fragmented pieces come back together. The Catherine of Siena Institute is heavy with folks who learned discipleship in non-Catholic Christian communities. Coming into the fullness of truth, they have brought both insight and vigor into the meaning and practice of parish life and lay discipleship."

I would certainly agree that "much was lost in the Protestant Revolt/Reformation but Rae isn't accurate when she says "The Catherine of Siena Institute is heavy with folks who learned discipleship in non-Catholic Christian communities."

Since the two members of the CSI team that Rae knows (Sherry C and moi) are converts from evangelicalism, she naturally thinks of the Institute as a initiative mostly carried on by converts. But in fact, the opposite is true.

As I tried to count our teachers scattered about, I realized that they were overwhelmingly cradle Catholics: 3 to 1. And the converts who have taught with us over the years come from many backgrounds, not just evangelicalism but Hinduism, Islam, Mormonism, mainline Protestantism, nothing, etc.

At present, only six of our C & G teachers are from an evangelical background or about 1/7 of our current teaching team.

There is a gap between what participants experience in a Called & Gifted workshop and what they think of as "normal" Catholicism alright. But it is not the gap between Protestantism and Catholicism.

It is the gap between what the Church teaches is the faith and what the average Catholic has experienced of the faith as commonly practiced.

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