Sunday, May 2, 2010

Last posting


After blogging not so well for over a year, I have decided to let this one pass.
In the last few months I have found myself enjoying the more immediate nature of social networking through Facebook, so am now regularly interacting with people there, through two pages for the different aspects of ministry with which I am connected: for parishioner engagement, strengths and stewardship; for coaching parents to form their own children.
I have a personal page on Facebook as well. Please connect with me there, and continue to go to my website:, which I continue to update and from which I post links to resources, colleagues, and updates on the developments in my ministry in catechesis, stewardship, engagement and strengths development, and pastoral planning. God's peace be with you and all you serve. Leisa

Friday, February 26, 2010

More Great Expectations

Great Expectations has to be one of the most wonderful projects I have ever been involved with. Thus far, I have participated in one gathering and have led two, and in all three events, in completely different parts of the United States, the response has been phenomenal. Critical conversations are begun or continued through a guided discussion of what we hope and dream for the people in our parishes, particularly parents; leaders commiserate together, learn from each other, and risk widening their view to consider a different way of thinking of our role, to embrace the idea that perhaps we who are catechists and catechetical leaders could think of ourselves as coaches for the parents, and could act accordingly.

The encouraging part of this process is that people seem (finally) willing to say out loud, "what we're doing is no longer working ... if it ever did..." and then, together, we come to a commitment to begin shift our thinking and to bring others to consider making the shift with us.

What a privileged position to be with such good people of ministry!

Now in Fall River, Mass; home briefly; next week: the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, for strengths inservice and catechists' retreat.

Lenten peace,

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Great Expectations

Blessings as we begin Lent. It seems appropriate that the beginning of this season of re-focusing and turning toward Christ is the season in which we begin taking Great Expectations to dioceses throughout the US. Great Expectations is a new project for Bill Huebsch and I, in which we encourage parish leaders to make fundamental shifts in the ways in which we think about and implement religious education. Specifically, we will be talking with people about coaching parents to form their own children, and we'll be sharing ideas and resources to support this shift. I will be in twenty-five dioceses this year (so far) for Great Expectations, and look forward to seeing many of you there!

May each of us find the grace to turn our minds, hearts and hands to Christ this Lent, and to live in the hope of Christ and God's reign now and into a bright future. Peace.

From Indianapolis, on my way to Ft. Worth, Leisa

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Stewardship Potluck

Last weekend I was at Sts. Simon and Jude Parish in Huntington Beach, CA. We had two wonderful days of formation, fellowship, learning from each other and growing as disciples in the process. The stewardship board members had done so much preparatory work for the weekend, including researching possible processes, exploring potential speakers, attending to all of the details of getting books to participants for their preparation, food and hospitality. They were such good witnesses of the joy that a life of stewardship can bring, I found myself thinking, "If every parish had a group of people this committed to living as stewards, life in our parishes would surely be powerfully compelling, a living witness of Christ's presence. They are just having so much fun being together and welcoming others, who wouldn't want to live this way?"

As we began our conversation with parish leaders about who we are as disciples and stewards, created in God's image, intended to reflect Christ's life to the world through the way in which we care for and use the gifts we have been given, one table of participants offered their thoughts about this life as a steward in this way: "Stewardship is sort of like a potluck dinner. Every person brings something. Sometimes it doesn't seem what we bring is all that much, but when we bring it all together, we create with Christ a feast!"

-- back home in Indy for a few days,
with a grateful heart, Leisa

Friday, January 22, 2010

Of Young Adults, and the Young at Heart

This week for me included participation in a groundbreaking gathering in the Diocese of Buffalo, where teams and individuals representing over 50 parishes gathered to consider the pastoral needs of young adults. The event was the kickoff for an integrated process of projects aimed at engaging and serving young adults in the parishes of the diocese. The event and the projects are funded by the diocesan Catholic foundation, an inspiring witness to partnership and collaboration in ministry among diocesan departments and the wider Catholic community.

As we talked at table and shared our hopes and dreams for people of all ages within our parishes, a true spirit of living faith and the desire to be with each other. I found the opportunity to sit with others of similar passion and hope to serve to reach me in a profound way. By the second day, with Jerry Galipeau's beautiful mystagogical reflection on sacramental spirituality, I felt like Jim Carrey's portrayal of the Grinch who declares, "I'm leaking!" Ah, as a friend often said of the two of us, we have been given the gift of tears! But what a blessing, to be able to reflect on our lives in Christ to the point of tears, and of challenge to learn, grow, serve, and love more deeply, now and into the future.

Now from Huntington Beach,

Thursday, December 31, 2009

A New Year, With New Hopes and Dreams

The sometimes-reader of this blog might be happy to know that one of my new year's resolutions is to approach what is found here in a new and different way. More conversational; more sharing of stories and observations from the people I meet along the way; less long, somewhat stilted reflections; more of something like I'm standing at the back door (friends always come to the back door, my mother often told me) propping it open while talking on the phone. Mind you, if you ever really did find me at home, you'd have to slop through the mud to get to the back door and I wouldn't make you do that! I might, however, lead you through the garage door, the contemporary equivalent if there ever was one.

I pray your new year is filled with many hopes and dreams, and that you'll share a few of those here as we begin 2010 together.

Blessing and peace to you and all you serve,

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Building on What is Already Wonderful

One of the important insights from the Gallup studies on engagement is that rather than dwelling on what is not working, in our parishes or in our own lives, we will do better to focus on what is already working wonderfully and build on it. I am amazed at how this seemingly small thought is changing my thinking and the way in which I look at my life, my parish, and my world.

Isn't it possible that the things that lead others to our parishes, the bright spots of life and love, the ways in which people care for each other and the needs of our world that often go unnoticed, are the very things that have potential for development and celebration?

The same is surely true of our personal lives, at home, in our parishes, in our community. When I really reflect on the talents God has given me, I realize there is so much I can do by developing and offering them, why focus on what I don't do well, on what I don't have?

There is much in our society that says "fix your weaknesses; resources are scarce; hold tight to what you have and you might be able to survive the moment." Christ says instead, "I have come that you might have life, life to the full."

Focusing and building on the many ways in which we are blessed, in our lives and in our parishes, is a much more sacred way to live. I begin this day with a prayer of gratitude, asking the Holy Spirit to guide my mind and heart so that I may recognize opportunities to build on what is already wonderful, to bring the beauty and strength of Christ's presence to those whom I encounter. What do you think?