Pastoral Ministry Days loaded with joy and evangelization ideas
And Mary said, “Behold I am the servant of the Lord…” Lk 1:38
“We should all have the title, ‘Behold I am the servant of the Lord,’” said Mother Adela Galindo, Foundress SCTJM, of the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary and the keynote speaker at the diocesan 2022 Pastoral Ministry Days. Her order, founded in 1990, is headquartered in the Archdiocese of Miami, Florida, and last July, four sisters from her order began working in the Diocese of Rapid City.
On April 4-5, more than 250 people gathered at Terra Sancta Retreat Center, Rapid City, for the annual education conference themed, “Be Not Afraid! The New Evangelization in the Areopagus of Our Time.” It was rooted on the teachings of St. John Paul II and was accompanied by a first-class relic of his blood brought here by Mother Adela. The Areopagus is a rock outcropping where the Athenian government presided over civic and religious matters — it figures in the teachings of St. Paul who told the council he knew the “Unknown God.”
Mother Adela shared she dislikes timid portrayals of Mary in movies. She dramatized Mary’s zealous response, “my soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,” and the speaker urged attendees to show their joy in the Lord. She recalled the first encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate (God is Love.) “We cannot understand the Eucharist unless we understand love,” she said.
According to Mother Adela, when receiving Communion, Catholics should behave like it is their first time — jumping for joy internally. “The Eucharist is the revelation of Christ’s love for humanity. In the Eucharist all the thirst of our hearts can be plenished. All the wounds of our hearts can be healed,” she said.
Mother Adela said St. John Paul II was present at PMD with his blood relic still liquid. She noted his 1990 encyclical, Redemptoris Missio on the church’s missionary mandate. “Proclaim with power and conviction. We don’t have that power by ourselves. It is the power of the Holy Spirit,” she said. “Proclaim the beauty, the power, and the splendor of the Gospel. It has all the answers to the human heart.” In her concluding address, she enlisted the participants to “Get to work.”
In the first workshop on evangelization, Fr. Brian Christensen provided an overview on the measurable drop, in recent years, for Mass attendance and those receiving the sacraments. He also reported a drop in priestly and religious vocations except permanent deacons — who have increased more than 300% in the same time frame. In the second workshop, Fr. Tim Hoag presented practical ways to bring people to the Lord beginning with befriending. He explained there are three groups of Christians. Followers are those interested in Jesus, but remain at a safe distance, they have not met him personally. Disciples have a personal relationship with the Lord and try to apply his teaching to their personal lives. Then, apostles are excited about the Lord knowing he has the words of eternal life.
Father Hoag spoke of the trial-and-error process that goes along with new parish programs like “Alpha” and “Connect.” Following his presentation attendees were divided into groups to discuss what is working in their parishes and pose ideas to implement.