Called and Gifted’ guides Catholics into discovering charisms
Grosse Pointe Park — Every Catholic receives special graces from the Holy Spirit when they are baptized.
Tools to be used by followers of Christ to spread His word and expand God’s reign on earth. But for many, these gifts can be a mystery, with many not knowing what their gifts are or how to share them with the world.
That’s where Called and Gifted comes in, a workshop developed by the Siena Institute to guide people in discerning their gifts and the best way to use them.
Called and Gifted workshops are conducted at parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Detroit, typically on Fridays and Saturdays, sometimes turning spiritual skeptics into people with a new-found appreciation of the graces bestowed on them at baptism.
Called and Gifted begins with a presentation of what gifts – called charisms – and natural talents people have. People then take an inventory assessment before an interview with a Called and Gifted coordinator, where the participant and coordinator discuss the spiritual gifts the participant should focus on discerning.
“Having that follow up interview and discernment group are critical pieces for people to understand their calling,” said Mary Martin, assistant to the coordinator for Called and Gifted of the St. Catherine of Siena Institute. “For me, it’s like they’ve woken up. I believe there’s a light that’s in each one of us, but the light is getting brighter and brighter.”
All are welcome
Martin said Called and Gifted is for all Catholics, particularly those who are looking to serve the church in some capacity.
Shannon Scanlon of St. Clare of Montefalco Parish in Grosse Pointe Park said the parish pastor, Fr. Andrew Kowalczyk, CSMA, asked for Called and Gifted to come to the parish so people could discover for themselves and how best they can serve the parish.
“Fr. Andrew was making a push to get each person to serve one ministry a year, that was his motto,” Scanlon said. “It’s hard to know what you want to do, or what you should do. At Called and Gifted, people discover things about themselves.”
Scanlon said that because of Called and Gifted, intercessory prayer groups formed at St. Clare and it changed how people thought about evangelization at the parish level and what gifts or talents they can offer the community.
“The workshop legitimizes things,” Scanlon said. “I think people my age have a hard time differentiating between skills used in life versus skills the Church needs. Once I went through Called and Gifted, I still have those same skills from work, but I discovered how I can use them in a more religious setting.”
Taking the time to evaluate and access those charisms, and how those charisms can best serve the Church, is a critical part of the process, according to people who’ve gone through the program.
Jeff Stuck of Our Lady of the Lakes Parish in Waterford owns a business. After returning to the church after a long absence, he wanted to learn about ways he could serve the Church, figuring it would be in administration.
Discovering new gifts
“When I went through Called and Gifted, I found some gifts that I didn’t recognize before, like preaching,” Stuck said. “More importantly, I found areas where I wasn’t gifted in, like sacred administration, I’m not good at administration. I’ve run a small business for years, and it always bugged me I wasn’t more efficient in the office. Then after going through this, I realized it wasn’t one of my gifts.”
Since going through Called and Gifted, Stuck said he’s opened himself up more to talking about his faith and relying more on the power of the sacraments. He said tapping into his inner gifts has not only had a positive impact on how he can evangelize, but how he runs his business and with his marriage.
“When I opened myself up, the Lord would start working though me with these gifts,” Stuck said. “I never thought of myself as a teacher, but teaching was one of my charisms. I then come to find out I do well with teaching people on a one-on-one or small group basis. I started to hear the Lord speak to me, hearing some of the stuff He wanted to deliver to others.”
The Called and Gifted experience has had such a powerful impact on some of its members, they’ve decided to come back and help run the program at other parishes.
Answering God’s call
Victoria McIntyre of St. Joseph Church in St. Gabriel Parish in Ida went to Called and Gifted because she “liked the way it was titled,”
After going to the class and eventually taking the one-on-one interview with Martin, McIntyre discovered she had the charism of administration, which explained to her why she thinks about things the way she does.
Since taking the class, she now volunteers at other parishes, helping other Catholics discover how they’re “called.”
“After Mary and I met, I just kept coming back,” McIntyre said. “I took the interviewer and teaching training in Lansing. Finally, the opportunity in Monroe came up to facilitate a workshop.”
McIntyre said people’s eyes open up when they go through Called and Gifted, tapping into parts of their faith they never knew they had or never cared to search for.
“I had a session where a gentleman thought Called and Gifted didn’t make a lot of sense,” McIntyre said. “He ended up as one of my staunchest supporters, like something had been lifted off him.
“I think anyone, any baptized person should go through this program. This is what we need to do as part of the New Evangelization. Bringing God to others, know that these gifts are real things. This course empowers us to go and give the Holy Spirit the power to do what we need to do to be followers and evangelists for Christ.”