Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

‘Aim High, Seek What Is Above!’: Responding to the Diocesan Pastoral Plan

by Brian Kraut, for the Inland Register

(From the May 21, 2015 edition of the Inland Register)

St. Paul exhorted the church in Colossae, “if you were raised with Christ, to seek what is above.”

Leadership from around the diocese gathered on April 17 to celebrate Christ and to seek those things above at the first Know, Love, and Serve assembly.

The day opened with words from the Diocesan Administrator, Father Michael Savelesky, who reminded attendees of the gift they have in a familial faith, in which they share language and experience.

Via video, Bishop Thomas Daly, soon to be installed as the seventh bishop of Spokane, exhorted all to embrace Know, Love & Serve’s year one priorities of leadership development and faith formation, because “the church needs servant leaders who embody Jesus’ charity and humility. When we humbly lay our lives down for others, we truly live our call to discipleship, and are even more attentive to following God’s will … please be assured of my prayers.”

Mary Jo Waggoner, Director of the Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry for the Diocese of San Diego, began her presentation with a reflection on joy: “Our joy can only be complete if we answer our call from Jesus Christ.” She ventured to speak to the value of all the sacraments and how they give the grace needed to live in this joy.

“In all humility, know that everything good is from God,” she said. She asked all to seek the good and be grateful for the good because it is a “two-sided coin: If you are grateful to God you will serve.” All were encouraged to think about the value of forming small faith-sharing communities, which had been so successful in parishes in the San Diego Diocese.

She also spoke of the value of sustained and organized intercessory prayer, because it is God who does all good things.

Paulist Father John Hurley from San Francisco reminded participants of how important it is to be people of joy, thus leading others to Christ.

He began his presentation with words from Pope Francis: “I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them.”

He also shared the words of Pope Emeritus Benedict: “Being a Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.”

Leaders must view the new horizon and set the course, allowing Christ to be their decisive direction. This moves a person from being a believer to being a disciple. Disciples, he said, are prepared to share this message with others, thus leading others to Christ.

Father Hurley spoke of five signs of an evangelizing community comprised of disciples leading others to Christ:

• The disciple “knows that the Lord has taken the initiative.” Scripture says that God loves first, and calls believers to stand in the crossroads, showing mercy to all, a mercy from God that is without end.
• Disciples become involved by word and deed in people’s daily lives.
• The community is also supportive, standing by people every step of the way, no matter how difficult or lengthy this may prove to be.
• Disciples are always concerned with fruit, because the Lord wants his disciples to be fruitful.
• Disciples are filled with joy. Challenges exist to be overcome. “Let us be realists, but without losing our joy, our boldness and our hope-filled commitment. Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of missionary vigor!” (Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”), 109). Father Hurley passionately encouraged all in attendance to embrace this mission of evangelization, and lead the church in this God-given endeavor.

The Diocesan Pastoral Plan, “Joy Made Complete,” can only be accomplished with each person embracing this missionary vigor, fueled by the love of Christ. Vigor and joy were renewed through the first Know Love & Serve assembly, and the efforts and prayers in every parish throughout the Diocese.

The diocese will host its next Know, Love and Serve assembly Friday and Saturday, Oct. 9 and 10, at the Spokane Convention Center. Parish and school leaders will gather Friday, Oct. 9. On Saturday, Oct. 10, all are invited to explore the priorities of the second year of the pastoral plan. Those priorities include community building, family ministry, youth ministry and young adult ministry.

(Brian Kraut is Director of the Office of Parish Support and Renewal. Contact him for more information about the Know, Love and Serve process:; (509) 358-7314.)

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