HILTON HEAD ISLAND—The Faith Alive Team at St. Francis by the Sea Church marked the celebration of Pentecost by focusing on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. As part of the celebration, the team sponsored a talk by Terrie Baldwin, director of the Office of Evangelization for the Diocese of Cleveland, who explained that her job is to bring people closer to God.
She opened the retreat with a prayer to the Holy Spirit. The intent for the attendees was to discover their gifts, or charisms, and explore new ways to develop those talents inside and outside the Church.
Charisms are spiritual gifts given by God to each person at baptism and strengthened by the sacraments. In his teaching document, “Joy of the Gospel”, Pope Francis wrote that talents can be “channeled into an evangelizing impulse.”
Generally, a person experiences a yearning and satisfaction when actively using their gifts, Baldwin said. She provided a variety of tools to recognize charisms. Using the workbook “Uniquely His”, by Sheila Mellick, the group went through an exercise to identify their top five gifts from a list of 20, including leadership, hospitality, teaching, service, creative ability, and more.
“Everywhere you go you have the ability to witness in your life,” she said. “We are all joyfully gifted. There are everyday things we can do to build up the Church. Because of your charisms, you may change another person’s life.”
An exercise called “Spiritstorm” is designed to produce ideas and solve problems. Teams used this technique to develop better ways to communicate and improve the parish’s annual family picnic.
There is also the “holy no”, which teaches that it’s OK to say “no” when people have too much on their plates, or when a ministry is not the right fit.
Parents are also encouraged to take note of and encourage their children’s spiritual gifts as a way to help them on their Christian path.
Ceil McIvor, a retired nurse and active caregiver to her husband; Donna Bafundo, leader of the parish’s Friendly Visiting ministry; and Judy Gabriel, a formally trained spiritual director, all participated in the event. Each woman affirmed her charisms and said she learned more.
“We all evolve into our ministries and charisms and can improve everyday in our spiritual lives,” McIvor said.
Baldwin said it took three years to develop the Joyfully Gifted program.
“It is a way for people to share their spiritual gifts and spread the Gospel,” she said.
The St. Francis retreat was a year in the making, and organizers said the event was made possible thanks to funding from an anonymous donor.
At the end of the meeting, Joyce Kelleher, a member of Faith Alive, explained that she will tally the gifts of the participants so the parish can begin to better understand new possibilities of working together.
Image, Wikimedia Commons: Pentecost, by Jean II Restout, 1732.