17.Encouragement for your Ministry for 2019

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Show Notes http://patticc.com/17

Notas del Programa patticc.com/s17

Intro

Greetings Gente Puente! Today’s program is a great way to start of 2019 on the right foot! It’s a mix of all the best tips and encouragement of my interviews in English in 2018. In this experience of interviewing ministers, the part that I feel has been the most powerful is at the end when they share their experiences of being leaders in ministry, what motivates them to continue on and the prayers they pray for you and your ministry. I hope you enjoy it and that it will help you to start off 2019 with a sense that you are not alone – there are people who support you, who are praying for you and the growing Gente Puente community is by your side. I hope that if you know of a minister who needs some encouragement that you will share this episode with them as well.

Si prefieres Español puedes leer un resumen de este episodio de los mejores consejos y ánimo de mis entrevistas en inglés del 2018 en las Notas del Programa en patticc.com/s17.

I am Patti Gutiérrez from Patti’s Catholic Corner. Our team works to serve ministries like yours. We offer you the best practices, resources and encouragement through this podcast and our Facebook group, as well as translation services from a team with experience in Catholic ministry.

If you want to be part of our online community, just look for Gente Puente on Facebook and join the group.

In this episode we will hear parts of the 2018 interviews in English. If you want to see which episode they come from, you can visit the Show Notes at patticc.com/17.

We’re going to start with some of their advice for other Catholic ministers. These are people who have years of experience in ministry already, some even have decades. I asked them to share from their experience about how they have stayed in ministry, how they balance all the aspects of their lives and how they maintain their relationship with God. Many of us want to serve the Church for the rest of our lives, and not forget what is most important. Here are very good tips on how to reach that goal.

And now, if you are going through a difficult time in your life or in your ministry, I want these words to encourage you and motivate you to make the necessary changes, to look for solutions, to take care of yourself, and walking hand in hand with Jesus, to move forward to build up his Kingdom.

And finally, I leave you with the prayers of my guests. May you feel the hand of God in your life and in your ministry.

Episode 2

Susana Solorza & Ann Flaherty- Attracting Hispanic Families to Catholic Schools

We need to wrap up but before we finish, can you leave us with a few words of encouragement and a prayer for new or struggling ministers?

You are going to get tired but it is so worth it. Every crazy hour and unexpected thing you have to do, it’s worth it, they need you. You are a minister for a reason. God put you in this position of ministering because you have something to give. There are people that have nothing and we need to be there. Keep going. Sometimes that’s all we have. The Holy Spirit is the one who is leading us. We don’t always know where he’s leading us but we know we are in good hands. OK I’ll close us in prayer.

Holy Spirit I ask you to guide us as we stumble in the direction that you need us to go. I ask that as we are walking with those that we are ministering, that you are the one leading. That we are doing the walking, and we are there in the everyday moments, but we know that you are leading us towards something greater. Lord help us as we minister to those in need and help us be ministered when we need it as well. Amen.

One thing that I love listening to you talk is the long-term vision that you have. You know that there is a lot that needs to happen in the background and you’ve done years of prep work that for someone might seem like nothing is happening. Maybe it’s easy to give up. But you’re saying we have to prepare the ground over these years. We have to have key leaders in the schools and diocese understanding the cultural aspects of it, the relationship and bringing the people into schools so they get to know the Hispanic ministry leaders in the parish for example. And even now you’re saying this is what we’re doing now, we’re seeing progress, but this is where we’re headed. There’s still a long-term goal that you know it’s going to take. Can you give some encouragement for other superintendents or school administration in sticking with it or the ways you’ve seen gifts and hope over the years that it is actually producing fruit and it was worth all those years of effort?

Yes. Honestly the first thing that all of us need to understand is that about 70% of American Catholics under the age of 35 are Latino. And 67% of practicing Catholics 18-34 are Latino. The future of our Church lies in our Hispanic culture and people. They are going to bring us hope. We are going to see a change in our Church. A much-needed change in our Church. Bringing back the importance – Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Blessed Mother, the relational aspect of practicing and worshiping and serving in our Church. We don’t have a choice. This is where the future of our Church lies. If we don’t jump on board and work then we are remiss in our duties as – not just as those who work for the Church, but as practicing Catholics. We are remiss. You go to Church and you look around – and I’m talking about me in my 60s. We are a bunch of grey hairs. Unless we color our hair of course. But for the most part we need our Hispanic families. We need to become one community. So it’s been worth every single minute of it. I’m not going to stop. My goal is to continue to work with the Hispanic community. Possibly in the area of tutoring or welcoming families or introducing them to the people I know. I’m not going to quit because that is the future of our Church and I love our Church. I love Christ. And I see that as in the American Church this is the route that Jesus and the Holy Spirit has us walking. And if you aren’t on the path then you’re missing the boat.

What are the moments of joy? When I get to walk through Owensboro Catholic High School and Middle School who I sat with as we filled out paperwork and talked to the director. Talking to them and seeing them smile and glow and talk about the things they’ve gotten involved in and the things they like most about the school and their grades. That is the ultimate joy for me to see them succeeding and being involved in a school where they are still a minority. But they figured out how to share what they have with those around them. That’s the joy for me.

Episode 3

Fr. Steve Pawelk- Helping Immigrant Parishioners through a Safety Plan

One of the goals of the Gente Puente podcast is to create a community and an encouraging space where we can support each other. Now that you have been in ministry for many years and in Hispanic ministry for many years, is there anything you can share that would be an encouragement for others in ministry?

For my gringo friends, just be honest, we don’t know nothing and that’s ok. We speak the language terribly, that’s ok, if your heart is there they will love you, don’t be afraid of the language barrier, just reach out and embrace your people, whether you are a lay leader or priest or brother. Whatever your role in the parish. There is always a way through the language by the love of heart. May I end with a little story? We were doing a going away party for an associate priest that was here for a short time, and in planning it the Latino women told the English women you don’t need to do anything because you are the Abeulas of the church. Because these elderly women brought bikes and clothes to these ladies that had children. And when that word was used, everything changed, they saw that they have a new role. Because our young immigrants don’t have their families here. The abuelos, abuelas, tías and tíos are not here. See what you have, no language is necessary just a good heart.

Thank you, would mind to close us out with a prayer for ministers for encouragement?

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Lord Jesus in the life of the church we go through difficult times, in the life of our communities they go through difficult times. We are now in a time of immigration that is challenging where there are many misinformation and where civility is sometimes lost for those who are of a different color or race or language. But as Catholics we are all brothers and sisters, may we be the body of Christ and support each other, whether we are members or leaders, may we be the hands, feet and hearts that embrace each other and walk together. Lord help us not lose hope, help us be the light in the darkness. Help us be the path of clarity in confusion. Help us overcome sadness with joy, with You all things are possible. So, Lord we ask you to be with every minister, every leader, everyone who desires to be a part of the Body of Christ, to have faith and confidence in your power over the evil we see in the world. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen

Episode 5

Kathy O’Brien- Ministry with Hispanic Youth & Young Adults

Thank you. Over the years of ministry and all the different places where you’ve been, can you share with us something that you’ve learned about how to balance your ministry and other aspects of your life? Or how you nurture your relationship with God throughout those years?

You have to, have to, have to, have a day off. You have to have time every day for prayer. That’s part of my vocation and my life. Without that, I couldn’t do any of what I do. You have to reach out and get others involved. You can’t do it alone. I had a heart attack in May and it just emphasized I’m not getting any younger, and I know that. I’ve got to plan for slowing down, but now the people know they can’t ask Kathy to do all we ask Kathy to do. We’ve got to do it. My pastor said, pump it for all it’s worth.

Thank you. Could you close with a few words of encouragement? Maybe there’s a minister out there who is just starting, getting their feet wet and not sure where all this is going to go. Or someone who’s hit a wall and they’re frustrated. Give them a little bit of encouragement and then if you would close us out in prayer for all of us who minister in the church, please.

I’ll say first of all do not be afraid. Those are the words of the Gospel, the words the Popes have used. For me, at 54, learning Spanish was – oh my gosh – do I have to do this? And the people taught me. Do not be afraid. Just get out there and communicate. It doesn’t matter what the grammar. All we want is somebody that will communicate with us. Eventually the fear dropped and I was able to speak Spanish enough to do my work. I don’t want to ever say that I’m fluent, because every once in a while I’m struggling for the right word. Like the other day what is a gutter? I’d say be not afraid. Just get in there. If language is a barrier, work to overcome it, little by little. I strongly recommend a long-time, in-depth immersion experience. Don’t be afraid if you’re 50 or more.

So if you’re listening and you’re young – now is the time!

Do it! Do it! I think that’s my big advice: pray and do not be afraid.

Thank you, would you close out in prayer?

Dear Lord, we ask you to bless all those who work in Hispanic ministry and work with Latinos of any country or nation. There are many of them among us now and we need to be reaching out to them. If we do not, others will and we will lose some of the best energy and best spirituality that we could possibly have in the church today. And the energy that involves families and leads to the values that we believe as Catholics. Please be with all those who minister to youth, to Spanish-speakers in our nation and inspire them to vocations of service to their own people as well. Amen.

Episode 7

Fr. Charles Dahm – Domestic Violence Parish-Based Ministry

Thank you. We are going to need to wrap up. Can you give some words of encouragement to those who are listening?

I think it’s important to reach out to victims and hear them. It’s important to listen to them and respond in a reassuring way. Words like you don’t deserve to be treated this way, it’s not your fault, you shouldn’t blame yourself, I’m so sorry for what you’re experiencing, I want to accompany you and help you find some freedom. Giving those words of encouragement you can connect. Don’t be surprised if they don’t leave right away. It’s going to be a process. But your role in that journey is important. And once a victim does free themselves from abuse they are extremely grateful to everyone who helped them along the way. That includes the local parish. At St. Pius V if you look at those in active ministry, the vast majority of them are survivors coming to give back to the community.

Could you close us in prayer?

Loving and gracious God we give you thanks for being a God of life and a God of love. You want us to live in peace and in happiness. You have given us hearts capable of loving like you love. We want everybody to experience your love so help us to reach out to people who are experiencing abuse even in their own homes. Help us to show them the compassion of Jesus. That they don’t have to stay in that abuse. They can free themselves and enjoy your peace, your love and happiness. And this we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Episode 11

Chris Gutierrez- Preparing for Christmas with the tradition of Posadas

I want to ask you to share something that you learned from ministry, about leading ministry, about how to balance ministry with other aspects of your life.

What I have learned in ministry in general is that when we allow and facilitate and learn from the different traditions in the popular devotion of our people from Latin America, it facilitates the overall ministry in the parish. The ministry flourishes because people, our brothers and sisters from Latin America here in the U.S., feel taken into account. That they don’t have to bury and hide these noble traditions. I would encourage everyone to not be afraid of encouraging the continuation of these traditions because the more that we facilitate them, the more success and the more involvement we will have in other ministries and even in mass attendance. The other thing I would say is that our Latino communities are very diverse, not everybody’s from Mexico, not everybody is from a particular country. So we need to learn from different traditions and different devotions, even at this time of Christmas, it’s so beautiful because it becomes very inclusive in its diversity. It can also enrich the rest of the parish. There are so many of brothers and sisters that have been part of the celebrations whose lives have been transformed because they’ve been invited to be part of it and to learn from it and to enjoy of it.

Thank you. Could you end with some words of encouragement for the people listening? Maybe they are in ministry but they’re feeling overwhelmed or frustrated or going through a difficult time. Can you give them some encouragement?

Yes. At the beginning when we start a ministry it’s not easy. You might feel alone. You might feel discouraged at times because of the many factors and challenges, but I want to inject hope into each one of us. I want us to know and I want you do know that things get better, the more we lean on the community to help us through the difficulties. Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable in ministry. That’s the whole thing about intimacy, you know into me see. It’s okay for each one of us in ministry to not feel that we are perfect, that we got it all together, that we have to be perfect leaders. If we allow ourselves to walk with the Latino community, they will grab our hand and they will help us through the difficulties. Don’t be afraid if you’re Spanish is not perfect. Don’t worry. I’ve often told people just come smile and enjoy yourself. Allow yourself to be able to learn, be open and the Latinos are very forgiving. It’s not about languages, it’s about presence, it’s about showing up, sitting at the table and eating, sharing a broken conversation in Spanglish. It doesn’t matter. It’s a lot of fun actually, so don’t be afraid of showing up, of coming and always trying to do different things. Cherish and promote the of different traditions and popular devotions of the peoples.

Thank you. Can you close with a prayer?

Heavenly Father, we thank you so much for the gift of allowing us to minister to, but also being ministered to by our brothers and sisters from Latin America, the gift of them present in our lives. Thank you for the gift of their devotion and their spirituality that is shared with us in our parishes. Thank you, Lord, for allowing us to walk with them, our brothers and sisters that can teach us so much and can especially keep us grounded in the mysteries of the incarnation at this time. Thank you for the many blessings and thank you for all that you give us, all that you provide for us. We ask you to be with those, especially at this time of the year, who are suffering loneliness, homelessness, or not feeling loved, that we may be people that go to them, go into the peripheries of our cities and towns, not only in search of the immigrant, but also of those who hurt, those who are most in need of your presence, of you Jesus being born in their hearts. In Jesus’ name, we pray, amen.

Episode 13

13: DOCAT Inspires Hispanic Young Adults

Can you share some advice in general about leading Ministry anything hat you’ve learned over the years, maybe as a priest, or as the leader of SEPI, or as a leader in general, on how to lead people well? Or how to balance your personal and spiritual life? Can you share something that you’ve learned?

I’d say to keep balance in your life – stay strong in body, mind, and spirit. As a priest I try to do this, and I invite the youth to do this in their lives. Keep balance; stay healthy, exercise, and care for the temple of your body. Also, dedicating time to strengthen your spirit through retreats and moments of prayer in silence. Keep studying, feed your mind and keep learning.

Another advice for leaders in ministry is to know your people, get to know them, accompany them. Acompañamiento. It’s such a rich term in Spanish both theologically and pastorally. It’s being beside our people – not just serve them without even knowing who they are. You need to walk with them and know their hearts and know their needs. By accompanying, the biggest lesson will be learned and that will be the first step to opening many doors in ministry.

The third advice I’d like to share is to stay joyful, we need joyful people in ministry. We need people full of enthusiasm and joy, it is the joy of the gospel needed to go out and serve. Pope Francis reminds us of that in his encyclical, The Joy of the Gospel, by saying we don’t need sad faces that look like they are at a funeral, we need people that are joyful, that have a smile on their faces. That’s the power of the gospel and Jesus Christ that can transform the world. We need ministers, priests, young adult leaders in the Church that have that joy of the Gospel and can share that joy with others.

Thank you very much. I know you could continue to share lots from your experience, so I appreciate you taking the time, as we close though, could you give us some words of encouragement to maybe a minister listening that’s going thru a difficult time of challenge – can you encourage them? And say a prayer for all those that serve the church?

My advice is to realize that crisis and difficult moments are part of the journey, no disciple can evade the cross. There will be moments that we will have to face difficult times. Always remember, in the depths of your heart, that is not the end, there is always Easter Sunday and there is always joy. Keep that in mind and in your heart, and persevere, just as our Blessed Mother persevered, just as the apostles persevered. Stay strong and stay joyful because that will take you to the Easter joy.

Let us ask the Lord to inflame our hearts with this joy of the Gospel.

Let us pray. Good and gracious Lord, you have called us to be your missionary disciples. You have given each one of us the graces of baptism, that make us your disciples and your missionaries. Give us the strength, the Holy Spirit, to realize that even through difficult times we are called to endure, persevere and to build your kingdom. As we keep going forward as your missionary disciples, help us so that our efforts bring much joy to the world, and bring much fruits to the mission of the church. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Episode 15

Alex Barraza- Sharing Hispanic Culture through the Three Kings

Do you have any concrete practices or concrete ways that you could share about how you keep that front and center, or how you look to God for his will and his timing above what your plans are?

We need to be very open minded because we need to wait and see, what God is willing so can judge it later and see what God was really trying to do. I always try to remember that I need to see where God is taking the projects we are working on . Just because I want to have a beautiful talk on some issue, I still need to see how God is going to do it, then I need to judge where God is taking this topic, where is taking this ministry. Because if we don’t stop and judge, we won’t know where God is trying to lead us.

Thank you Alex, could you close with some encouraging words for ministers who are listening and then close us out with a prayer for all of those who serve the church?

Like I said ministry is hard, you are not alone as a minister. I want to invite our ministers who are listening to find somebody that supports our calling, they can be people who are not in church ministry , but we need to find somebody who is keeping us in check and giving us social support. I want to pray for my brothers and sisters that are out there in the field serving the Lord. We said, heavenly Father we give you thanks for the opportunity to serve you, we give you thanks because you are the source of our ministry and you are the place that we want to minister to. Give us wisdom, give us an open heart and a loving heart, so we can understand what is it that you want to do with our people. I want to pray specially for those are suffering, those that feel lonely, that feel abandoned Lord. Give them the grace so they can know that you are a loving God. And we pray to Mary our mother so she can cover us with her mantle, and lead us always to Christ her son. Mother Mary keep us always faithful to the love of God and be our model in the ministry that w have. Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us. Amen.

Conclusions

Heavenly Father, I ask you to touch the heart of every minister who is listening today. May they feel the great love you have for them. May they remember that you loved them first. You created them out of love. You have been forming them from the womb of their mother and you are guiding their steps. They are your beloved daughter or son. Even the hairs on their head are numbered. You have given them certain gifts and everything they need to do your will here on earth. You have called them to ministry in order to serve the Body of Christ. You see all their long hours, their efforts and struggles. May they remember that they are never alone. Grant them the grace and strength to overcome any obstacle that comes their way. And may everything they do be for your glory, Lord. All this we ask in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

I also ask you Mary, our Mother, to cover every minister who is listening with your mantle. May they feel your motherly love and follow your example of a faithful disciple. Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us. Amen.

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Thanks for listening today. May God bless you and your ministry as gente puente!

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