Unfortunately, catechetical leaders often need to live
one season ahead of the folks in the pews. So todaybarely into LentI’d
like to talk a little about the spirit of Easter and parish staffs. Perhaps this season
of resurrection and new beginnings would be a good time to look at how your staff might
continue to grow.
I have ministered in four parishes and worked with six pastors and
two pastoral administrators. I was blessed to minister alongside some wonderful men and
women. Ministering together was so comfortable for us because we took time to get to know
each other. We came together regularly to pray and to share our lives.
In all of the parishes in which I worked, the staff would take time
off to go out to lunch and dinner together. Occasionally, we would spend a day just having
fun. Most of our staff meetings began by checking on how we were doing. Regular staff meetings
included a prayer, a Scripture reading and, often, a faith-sharing question.
Please don’t get me wrong: I did not expect the parish staff
to be my primary support community. But I did expect support from the community that was
on staff with me.
There are all sorts of materials available from our Catholic publishers
to help parishes work on staff development. If needed, there is probably someone in your
diocese who can facilitate a staff workshop on communications, building trust, etc. Even
taking the Myers-Briggs personality test and working with outcomes can be an extremely
St. Anthony Messenger Press recently published a book of prayer services
that may also be of help to parish staffs. Prayer
Service for Parishes
by Karen Berry, O.S.F., offers an excellent short Easter prayer
service for staff members. The reflection offers time for individuals to write down their
thoughts before sharing them with the group.
Along with a Scripture reading from Luke and a Psalm response, the
service includes a reading from Margaret Alter:
It is significant that the Risen Christ identified himself…by
his scars. It was his suffering, transformed by God that made him credible. Likewise
we, too, need not despair because of the scars that identify us. It is precisely these
scars that God transforms into ultimate good for ourselves, and compassionate ministry
She goes on to say, “When the worst that life might deal us can
be so transformed, we encounter a “resurrection psychology.” (Click
here to view the rest of the reading and see the whole prayer service.
) What a great
reading! It has offered me days of fruitful meditation.