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Gift and Charism Discernment

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Contact:  Patricia Jannuzzi, Director of New Evangelization/Stewardship/Adult Faith Formation
908-725-1112 ext. 1124
pjannuzzi@icsomerville.org

As part of our Adult Faith Formation initiative, Immaculate Conception Parish will offer The Catherine of Siena Gift Discernment Seminar which is an 8 week seminar designed to aid our parishioners to discern their mission.

It will be offered in the Spring of 2011.


WHY CHARISM/GIFT DISCERNMENT?

At Immaculate Conception Parish we are committed to rededicating all of our energies to the New Evangelization.  Pope John Paul the Great inaugurated the third millennium with the invitation to "THROW OPEN THE DOORS TO CHRIST!" We believe that this new Christian Millennium offers us many signs of renewal in the church and her mission to the world.  One of those signs is the laity's increasing response to the Lord's call to rebuild His church.  As this call becomes increasingly urgent and evident, the apostolic potential of the parish must be realized.  Where do 98% of the laity have contact with the Church?  THE PARISH!  The parish cannot simply remain a place where the laity receive the sacraments but must become a center of apostolic formation.  (The Parish Mission or Maintenance, Fr. Michael Sweeney and Sherry Weddell, p. 4) 

The call of the laity is to become Catholic Christian disciples in conversion, stewards in communion and apostles in mission!


In order to fulfill this call we, the laity, need to be formed.

"The fundamental objective of the formation of the lay faithful is an ever-clearer discovery of one's vocation and the ever-greater willingness to live it so as to fulfill one's mission."  (Christifedelis Laici,58)

We need to know our personal and communal mission! We need to know our gifts!

CHARISM DISCERNMENT IS AN ESSENTIAL COMPONENT OF FORMATION.

WHAT IS A CHARISM?

"Charism is simply the Greek word used in the New Testament for 'favor' or 'gratuitous gift'.  Charisms or spiritual gifts, are special abilities given to Christians by the Holy Spirit to enable them to be powerful channels of God's love and redeeming presence in the world. Whether extraordinary or ordinary, charisms are to be used in charity or service to build up the Church." (CCC 2003) The Catholic Spiritual Gifts Inventory, 6 Sherry Weddell

HOW DO CHARISMS OR SPIRITUAL GIFTS DIFFER FROM NATURAL TALENTS?

"Charisms, or spiritual gifts, differ from natural talents in two important ways.  Charisms are not "in-born" or inherited from our parents, but are given to us by the Holy Spirit, whom we received through the sacraments of initiation-through Baptism and Confirmation.  Charisms are also supernaturally empowered.  They are focused outward and enable Christians to bear results for the Kingdom of God above and beyond our normal human abilities." (The Catholic Spiritual Gifts Inventory, 6 Sherry Weddell).

ARE ALL BAPTIZED CHRISTIANS GIVEN CHARISMS?

"Yes, according to both the New Testament (Ephesians 4) and the teaching of the Catholic Church(CCC 951)some seem to be "temporary" (that is, they are given for a single time only) and some charisms seem to be given on a "permanent" basis.  Any Christian may be used by God in an unusual or unique way at a given point in time." (The Catholic Spiritual Gifts Inventory, 8 Sherry Weddell).

IS THERE A CONNECTION BETWEEN UNDERSTANDING WHAT CHARISMS I HAVE BEEN GIVEN AND DISCERNING MY VOCATION OR MISSION IN LIFE?

"Every Christian has a vocation or mission in life, a work of love through which each individual is called to follow Jesus and for which each individual was created (Ephesians 4: 7-16).  Since we're all on a mission from God, we need the power of God to be able to accomplish our mission!  Charisms are both tools given to disciples so that they are able to accomplish their mission and important clues as to what their mission in life might be."  The Catholic Spiritual Gifts Inventory, 8 Sherry Weddell.

IF I HAVE A SPIRITUAL GIFT OR CHARISM, WHY DON'T I KNOW IT?

Permanent or long term charisms need to be discovered and developed, just like natural gifts.  The reason most Catholics don't know about their charisms is because they have not been taught about the need to discern and develop them.  Since the Second Vatican Council, there has been a greater emphasis in official Church teaching on the individual mission or vocation of every baptized Christian and on the role of the Holy Spirit and of charisms enabling Christians to live their vocations effectively.