Thursday, January 11, 2007

Introducing myself

I'm "the other" Sherry, i.e. not Sherry W. At her urging, I herewith introduce myself.

I am a history professor's wife and homeschooling mother of 3 girls. My husband and I entered the Church together a year after we were married; we were both from an evangelical background. We've been friends of Sherry W. for 16 years, and been co-conspirators of sorts in the development of the Catherine of Siena Institute and other efforts to nurture the apostolic awakening and formation of lay Catholics. I've taught the Called and Gifted worshop, and conducted gifts discernment interviews with around 200 people in person and on the phone over the past several years. I'm part of a group of folks in the two parishes here in my small Appalachian Ohio town that is working toward implementing the Church's guidelines on formation that are given in the new Directory for Catechesis.

In the church I was raised in, you couldn't sit through a single church service without hearing a basic version of the kerygma, and being invited to visibly respond to it. I can't remember not knowing that God loved me; that sin separated me from God; that Jesus died and rose again so that my (and humanity's) sins could be forgiven and I (and humanity) could live a joyful-though-not-easy relationship of intimacy with God that would last forever; that saying Yes to God's invitation (and receiving Baptism) would make me a child of God, heir of heaven, and co-worker with God to spread that message to every single human being. I took my time with saying "yes"; I was baptized at sixteen. But I knew what was at stake in that "yes".

What I found in the Catholic Church built upon and fulfilled that foundation in many unexpected ways. I deeply love the Church's teaching, history, and life.

Now I am raising children in a parish culture where that proclamation is not ever-present in the way it was for me, though Jesus is Here, and my children know that. That proclamation is not easy to hear in my parish -- and it is not a bad parish by any means. The Mass, and the Church's devotional life, assume it -- but the generation I am raising (and every other generation) needs to hear it proclaimed.

I want my children to be fully Christian, fully Catholic, to discover and live their vocations to the full -- and to help that happen it seems that I have to be part of changing the world, and to change the world, I have to be part of making all that beautiful teaching of the Church live. So be it. I am utterly inadequate to the task, but He delights in using the inadequate to do remarkable things.

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Thursday, January 4, 2007

By Way of Introduction

When Sherry W invited me to join as a contributor to Intentional Disciples, I could not do anything but say, "Yes!" You see, back in April of 2002, I entered St. Blog's and started Integrity (originally over here) with one purpose in mind. During law school, I had read John Paul II's exhortation, Christifideles Laici ("CFL"), a description of the vocation and mission of the laity, and was blown away. I wanted to share with others this jewel that I had discovered, this bold statement of what I am, of my baptismal calling. Thus, began Integrity and its core mission of exploring CFL, section by section. But my real desire was that a lively dialogue would develop, others would respond like St. Peter to my St. Andrew-like racing to share the good news of what I had encountered. That conversation never really developed at Integrity, but it has here at Intentional Disciples. I am thrilled by that and am blessed to be able to join in.

So just a quick word about myself. I am a lay, cradle Catholic. Lawyer. I'm also a member of a lay movement, Communion and Liberation, and have a real heart and desire for vibrant parish life. I mention all of that to give you some context on my experiences as I think the fruits of experience is the primary thing that I (or any of us, for that matter) have to offer.

Of course, now that I am participating in this new endeavor of the Catherine of Siena Institute, I suppose I should listen to that copy of the audio version of the Called & Gifted Workshop I purchased a while back. ;-) (Now if I can only figure out which box I packed that in when I moved. A year ago. I know, I know. What can I say, I'm lazy and a pack-rat.)

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