Both individuals and parish Pastoral Leadership Teams experience the remarkable work of the Holy Spirit through their collaborative participation in the INSPIRE Project. Here we share several of their stories with you.
St. Giles Parish, Oak Park
We had high hopes that INSPIRE would be a cut-and-dry, one year process that would end with our team holding a brand new parish structure that would allow us to better communicate, collaborate, and function on a daily basis. Instead, our plans and visions have been turned upside-down as we have been spent our entire first ear dialoguing about and more deeply exploring ecclesiology, collaboration, and what we really mean by “structure,” as well as the charisms and needs of our own parish.
As we move into our second year, we are anxious to move forward in order to apply some of or learning and revelations in order to help us better function, grow and serve as a parish.
St. Alphonsus Liguori Parish, Prospect Heights
We began the INSPIRE project in June of 2005, preparing ourselves for the transition that will take place down the road in July of 2007. Fr. Bob Heinz will be completing his term as pastor at the parish. It seemed appropriate to work through transitions. Little did we know that three other staff members would be leaving this past year: Fr. Ray Dunne, S.J., associate in residence, Steve Janco, our music/liturgy director, and Cathy Walz, our Jr. High DRE and Youth Director. Transition was definitely the appropriate focus.
With Sr. Phyllis as our consultant, our staff spent time sharing the experience of these moves and how it affected each person on a personal and professional level. We were able to articulate the impact this had on the parish in the various ministries, while at the same time incorporating new people onto the staff. It gave us an opportunity to grieve and plan for the future with hope.
The next steps are for us to lead our ministry volunteers and the parish through this transition process. We have three meetings set up for this next year focused on Transitions in the Church, Transitions in Leadership and Personal Transitions. These sessions will be led by Jack Shea and Jim Zullo.
St. John of the Cross Parish, Western Springs
The staff at St. John of the Cross has truly benefited from INSPIRE. When we began the project, our staff was in a moment of transition: adding new staff members and changing the leadership style within the parish. INSPIRE assisted us with these transitions through the use of the Myers-Briggs test, guided conversations, and prayer experiences. Furthermore, each staff member has used the grant money to deepen pastoral effectiveness through retreats, workshops, and classes. During the past year, every parishioner has felt the power of our efforts through formational opportunities focusing on Catholic Social Teachings.
St. Gregory the Great, Chicago
Joe Malham, INSPIRE Pastoral Leadership Team member and Resident Artist at St. Gregory the Great parish in Chicago, reflects upon his personal growth as an artist through INSPIRE support and how that personal growth translated directly to learning about leadership and team. In this interview excerpt, Malham, an iconographer, speaks candidly to INSPIRE earning historian and Parish Consultant Dominic Perri. Click HERE for a full PDF version of the interview.