As sessions began on Wednesday, April 29, Father Phillip Cover of the Department of Religious Education (National Catholic Educational Association) challenged us to "adopt the stance of a freefall, trusting in the spirit to bear you up and through collaboration, creativity inventiveness to re-imagine the missionary spirit of a local church." "Be mindful," Father Cover said, "that it is God who initiates the freefall, the act of freefall." His task -- which was accomplished -- was to "nudge us out of our comfort zones, nudge us out of old ways of doing things, to have us move us from the warmth and security of a nesting place, so that we may be willing and open to receive new ideas."
By the end of the session -- a video clip of which is included to the right -- ideas were generated as to "what if" as we imagined a new, energized missionary spirit in our local churches. Read through a partial listing of these in the attached document; download the PowerPoint of his presentation by clicking here. The text of Father Cover's talk may be downloaded in this document.
In her response to his presentation, Sister Judy Gomila of New Orleans, using the image of a therapy band (used for stretching), asked us to stretch our imaginations so that we are stronger in our work for the Missions. She drew out phrases / words that "grabbed" listeners or that might be incorporated into a future presentation or letter to donor or school. Here's a list of some of those: - imitate Jesus' public ministry - nudge - get out of the box - freefall - integration - countercultural - raise consciousness - dream - pull opposites together in love - reversal of thinking - what if - compassionate stories that wound the heart
"Stories that wound the heart will move the heart to move with compassion... Compassion is the light of God implanted within us." Father Phillip Cover
Sister Judy also drew out emotions after hearing Father Cover's presentation. These included: excitement of challenge, hopeful, contemplative, compassion, joy, determination, energy, connectedness, to dare, courage, solidarity, surrender.
What was the presentation about? Sister Judy asked -- giving listeners one sentence to summarize that. Here's what she heard: - the importance of telling the story - the need to re-imagine - be Christ-like - a dynamic agenda for mission - a need to reclaim our missionary identity - go forth and live your baptismal promise - get out of the nest - infuse the structures with new missionary spirit - the need to integrate - seeing with new eyes - tapping into movements that are there and utilizing them for mission - remind us that we have a missionary identity - we are all brothers and sister.
And finally, she pondered, "What does that presentation make YOU want to do? What are YOU willing to do, put your energy into? To that musing, she heard: - Share with young adult directors - Call for joint meeting with similar office - Try to reach our priests because they are the ones who talk to our people - Shake the principals and DREs - Be in contact with and celebrate with cultures already there in the diocese.