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October 9th, 2022

Adventures in Grace

     Early in the 16th century, St. Ignatius of Loyola went on a pilgrimage in northern Spain after a gruesome leg injury left him doubting if he would ever walk again. But, walk he did, as a pilgrim, from Monserrat to Manresa. During the 11 1/2 mile trek he developed language that would be foundational to Ignatian spirituality and the Spiritual Exercises that remain the core of all things Jesuit – their Prayer, Mission and Education.

     His pilgrimage ended, but that was just the beginning of a profound spiritual movement that has lasted and is more alive today than ever.

     That is the kind of vision I have for Holy Family moving forward.

     We have all been on pilgrimages formal and informal, pilgrimages with a beginning and end. We began Adventures in Grace: a PILGRIMAGE last year about this time. The PILGRIMAGE has ended, but Adventures in Grace continues.

     This Adventure is not a strategic plan. It is not another program. It is a renewal for Holy Family going forward. It begins the next major era of the life of our community.

     Like the pilgrimage of Ignatius, our pilgrimage gave us language, some of it born in my conviction of the ever present availability of grace throughout life itself, and some proclaimed so passionately by Terry Nelson Johnson and the Soul Play team who accompanied us; language indicating the simple relationship between grace, mediation and Sacrament/sacrament. It espouses Sacraments as verbs, not simply nouns. It urges us to persistently ask, “Where is the grace?” and, “What or who has mediated grace in your life recently?” It investigates how Sacraments flow from grace, not simply grace from Sacraments. I have continued to develop a belief that Grace is not a commodity to be consumed, but an energy that is so powerful it can’t be fully contained. This belief is rooted in the power of God’s love that cannot be fully contained.

     The formal part of the Archdiocesan initiative of Renew my Church has also ended. We gathered with leaders from St. Anne, led by Eleanor Seagraves, the representative of the Arch. We held three formal meetings. St. Anne has a plan for renewal in their parish. Our operating plan/roadmap/software for renewal is Adventures in Grace.

     Eleanor introduced us to additional language that has generated soft entry points for people who do not regularly join us. Our Shenanigans series is the result. Many have joined us for these informal and fun events and have caught our vibrant spirit in the process.

     Another major part of our renewal is tenderness. Inspired by two statements from Pope Francis, one stating “The world needs a revolution of tenderness,” the other “Christianity without tenderness does not work.”

     This has inspired a series of Tenderness presentations during which we will have several events following the pattern from last year’s pilgrimage— homilies during all Sunday Masses on select weekends and a presentation in church on the Wednesday that follows.

     The Series is

  • Tenderness and Forgiveness-Fr. Ed Shea (this past Wednesday)
  • Tenderness in Prayer in November
  • Tenderness In Creation in January
  • Our Parish Mission in March
  • Tenderness In Relationships in May

     I am asking for your commitment to be a valuable part of the renewal of Holy Family through any and all of the following:

  • GIGS (Small Christian Communities called Gatherings in Grace)
  • Attend Bible Journey
  • Attend the Beloved Retreat in December
  • Read our parish book, “The Whole Language; The Power of Extravagant Tenderness“ by Fr. Greg Boyle and participate in the discussions that will follow
  • Be attentive to the Grace language that will be woven consistently and regularly in daily and weekend Mass homilies, during Weddings, Baptisms, Funerals and in every ministry.

     Last year’s pilgrimage engaged a core of people in the parish. My vision is that AIG will engage us all. My vision of Holy Family is that grace, tenderness, Sacraments and sacraments will be woven into the very fabric of Holy Family.

     Genuine renewal using the ongoing discovery of grace will require the participation of us all!

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