By Jennifer Hildebrand
A recent Facebook post prompted me to finally sit down and write this article. The post stated, “If we do not share what we have been given, then the gift was never truly received. Every gift given is meant to be passed along.” So, I took that as a message that I should share my experience with you. Last September I enrolled in the “Called and Gifted” program held at St. John Vianney Parish in Bettendorf. After a couple of personal invitations, a plea from the pulpit, some prayer and contemplation, I registered. I am embarrassed to say that what came to mind when I first heard of the class was the “Talented and Gifted” or TAG program from our children’s elementary school days. I thought … ugh … that is not me!
After hearing a former participant share her experience in front of our congregation, my interest peaked. On the first day of class, I was surprised and happy to see several of my fellow parishioners from Our Lady of the River Parish, as well as others I knew from neighboring parishes. The leaders were genuinely warm and welcoming and I felt at home immediately. Through a series of video clips, small group discussion, minimal “homework,” meditation and prayer, I was able to identify and concentrate on learning more about one specific “gift” of mine.
The program really consists of two parts; the first five weeks focus on viewing the videos and small group discussion. Then you have the opportunity to meet with a trained discernment interviewer, which I highly recommend! It is during this time that you really are able to identify and pin down a specific gift that was given to you by the Holy Spirit. Rest assured; this is a very comfortable and valuable experience that pulls the entire process together! Through this process I learned that my gift, or charism, is administrator — one who loves to organize, lead or direct. An administrator knows by faith that any project can be accomplished by bringing together the right people and grasps the overall picture and all that is involved.
After a small break, the next five weeks focus on your specific gift with additional viewing of videos and small group discussion based on your discerned gift. During this phase you begin to look at your life and your involvement in community and parish activities. New ideas are generated about how to use your gift to bring glory and honor to our God. By the end of the program, just like any retreat experience, it is difficult to say good-bye. The “Called and Gifted” program is being offered at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Bettendorf beginning Sept. 12 from 6:30-9 p.m. Take time to discern your gifts given to you by the Holy Spirit. I almost passed up this opportunity because I thought I was “too busy” to take the time. If you are interested in learning more or would like to register, please contact Cheryl Brogla-Krupke at firstname.lastname@example.org or (563)343-2834 or Maureen Conrad at email@example.com or (563) 940-5921.
Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. — Matthew 5:16
(Jennifer Hildebrand is a member of Our Lady of the River Parish in LeClaire.)