At this point, I still have no idea what my summer service project will be, but I am open to suggestions and I am going to operate under the assumption that if it is something radically different that I might need to clear it with Deacon Tim or with the bishop, even though I have been told in an e-mail that we do not necessarily have to clear our projects beforehand. I'd certainly feel more comfortable doing so in order to make certain that whatever I find (or come up with) meets the intentions that Deacon Tim and Bishop Stika have set out for a proper service requirement, not just a case of "I like this, so I think I will do it." Nicole suggested that it may be possible to find something to do at Daily Bread, which is an ecumenical ministry in Morristown that feeds hungry people-anyone who comes-every day. Many area churches serve there, including our own parish. My spiritual director has suggested that I might consider offering some classes of supplemental instruction at the parish over the summer on topics such as different forms of prayer, the liturgy, or the Eucharist after I expressed a concern to him about some of our RCIA neophytes being "left hanging" a bit (not on purpose, mind you, they just kept right on coming!). I couldn't help but notice that this year, unlike what I have often observed in previous years, we didn't see much of a drop-off in attendance after Easter. Most of our new Catholics stayed with us right up to the very end. To me, this indicated a spiritual hunger and interest, so I might like to try and address some of that (of course, were I to offer these informational sessions, they'd be open to all, not just former RCIA participants). Father Joseph would have to approve of that project, too...
I am also actively seeking to assist the parish in new ways. There are a couple of committee positions on the parish council at St. Pat's that I have a genuine interest in. One is spiritual life, and the other is parish life. Since prayer and spirituality are what I would call a strength of mine (albeit a developing strength), perhaps I can also be of service in this way. A ministry of prayer and the teaching and spreading of prayer to others is one that I would hope to have if I am-God willing-ordained.
Even though I am still perplexed about what my summer project might be, I have decided to take the advice of a commenter to this blog back in January when I first expressed honest concern and some apprehension about what my summer project might be. Everything about my formation up to this point I have entrusted to Jesus through Mary, and I have told the Lord that I trust in him to provide what I need, and he has so far done that through the wonderful and prayerful support of my brother Aspirants, in a unique way through Steve Helmbrecht and Don Griffith, who have been generous to provide me a ride to formation each month, and have therefore had to put up with me! The Lord sent them to answer my prayer that if this was the Lord's will, the Lord would provide a way.
I am going to approach my summer project with the same spirit and with that prayer brought to us by St. Faustina: "Jesus I trust in you." It is our bishop's episcopal motto (Iesu Confido in Te) and it has become my personal prayer throughout my formation process...and so I trust in Jesus to show me the way in summer service the way he has shown me the way in everything else.
And I am going to praise God for his goodness to me in allowing me to be formed in this way. In that spirit, here is another of my favorite Taize hymns.
If you don't know the Latin, it roughly translates:
Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!
All Nations, Alleluia!
Finally, pray for me. This coming weekend is our formation weekend, and on Saturday I am scheduled to meet with Deacon Tim, Deacon Jim Lawson, and <??????> to answer whatever questions they may have about where I am in my call, to submit my canonical impediments form, and to receive instructions on how to formally request candidacy from the bishop. Nicole will also have to join me in this request.