News & Events
Jun 7, 2017
Day of Reflection
by Rafael Oei
"... I have chosen you from the world ...
to go out and bear fruit, fruit that will last ..."
~ John 15:16, 19
The Diocese of Victoria’s Parish Support Staff Day of Reflection on Wednesday, May 24, 2017, began with Mass, a perfect way to begin the day-long retreat.
Parish Support Staff are the ‘face’ of the Catholic Church in the parish office; engaging, interacting, and communicating with the public, parishioners, and their families. In his homily that morning, Bishop Gary Gordon reiterated and reinforced the need to be authentic and present as we encounter the people in our parishes and the community—stepping into their shoes to understand their needs and to serve them well. In the words of Pope Francis, engage in and serve everyone through accompaniment, on the ground, and out there with the people. It is in our parishes, and through our parish offices, that we have the privilege to journey with parishioners through the Sacraments: from Baptism through Confirmation and First Communion, then marriage or religious life, and finally sending them on their journey into the next life. It is a journey that is normally exclusive to a family; and the Church is a family.
Following Mass, the theme of ‘encountering’ continued as parish support staff mingled, interacted, and met old friends or new colleagues. The Day of Reflection offered staff the opportunity to take a step back, breathe, laugh, snack, chat, and for the Diocese to present certificates to recognize and acknowledge those who have served their parish and the Diocese faithfully over the years.
The afternoon continued with guest speaker Leah Perrault, who explored the topic How to serve in a changing Church. Through humour and personal sharing, Leah illustrated the ways in which strength and God’s guidance are revealed and released through the trials and gravity of the Cross. Echoing the words of the Holy Father and Bishop Gordon, Leah suggested that it is once again the age of the Missionary Church, challenging participants to go out to the people on the ground to accompany them, not just to encounter them in the office or parish.
Filled with renewed vigour and purpose, the day ended with participants happy to have been able to spend a restful and reflective day away from the routine of the parish office; sharing a meal amongst friends, comforted that challenges and problems need not be met in isolation; and re-affirmed that their work for parish and Diocese is crucial, imperative, and most of all—very much appreciated.
Chancellor Cynthia Bouchard welcomes attendees to the Day of Reflection
Guest speaker Leah Perrault on the topic How to serve in a changing Church