Today marks the beginning of the second annual Mid-Atlantic Congress in which pastoral leaders of our Church on the East Coast gather in Baltimore. As was shared in Tuesday’s blog, it is a time of sharing knowledge, gathering tools, and forming relationships. Spending our days in prayer, breakout sessions and collaborative conversations, one is over loaded with wonderful information and useful tools. After three days of being laden with information and experiences the question becomes, “what is the take away?”
I share with you my “take aways” from last year’s congress. These 6 pieces of wisdom have stuck with me throughout the year and have helped to strengthen both my faith and my work as an Apostle in the Church.
Take Away 1: “When I don’t have hours I take minutes” ~Elizabeth Ann Seton. In the business of our lives it is hard to find the hours of contemplative prayer we would like and need. We must be reminded that when we can’t find hours we should not beat ourselves up, but rather take the minutes we do have to enter into prayer and conversation with God.
Take Away 2: “Remember that you are called and chosen, loved and blessed. That you are the one that will bring others to Christ” ~Most Rev. Gerald Kicanas, Bishop of Tucson AZ. The Bishop then went on to say, “I have an ecstasy and terror of having been chosen in Baptism.” All of us in our Baptism were called and chosen to be apostles of Christ and we must remember that in being Apostles we are love and blessed, even in the midst of our own ecstasy and terror.
Take Away 3: “The one handed Gospel” The Director of CRS, Dr. Carolyn Woo, shared Blessed Teresa of Calcutta’s “one handed Gospel”, in which Mother Teresa explained that the whole Gospel can be counted on five fingers, “You-Did-It-To-Me.” Every action that we take we do it to Christ, so let our actions be ones of compassion, care and love.
Take Away 4: “Have a spirituality of Resurrection; love beats all- Joy over hate!” Fr. James Martin, SJ. As we have shared with you many times in our blog posts, Fr. Martin again reiterates that we are a people who “rejoice in hope” and that “joy, humor, and laughter feed hope.” In the midst of our struggles and our pains, we are reminded that we are called to be a people of the Resurrection!
Take Away 5: Always come back to the Eucharist! Msrg Kevin Irwin shared that, “the Eucharist says you are accepted and you are not alone. It is what gives us hope and perspective.” Marty Haugen explained that “the Eucharist is radically welcome, radically relational, and radically transformative.” We must remember the gift the Eucharist is to us and the strength it provides us to do the work of God.
Take Away 6: Love the Church! Paul Henderson, director of USCCB publishing reminded us that we are to “love the church…love knows no fear.” Most Rev. Gerald Kicanas, Bishop of Tucson AZ, also spoke in asking us to “strive to love the Church; she is a sinful, graced reality.” In the midst of trying times for our Church, let us never forget to love her and be grateful for all that she has done in showing us what is true and real.
In the midst of this day, you are bombarded with information and details, my hope is that you are able to take away one of these take aways! I ask also that you keep in prayer all those who are participating in the Mid-Atlantic congress this weekend and for our Church at large, that through collaboration and sharing we might be able to live the Pallottine spirituality of reviving faith, rekindling charity and forming apostles.
Pam Tremblay is the Blog Editor for the Catholic Apostolate Center.