By Tania Rimac
After meeting regularly online since August, local participants of the Called & Gifted Discernment Process met in-person for the first time to celebrate the power of the Holy Spirit working in their lives.
The evening in late November provided an opportunity for the participants to come together over a meal, and to hear some of the many remarkable and powerful experiences that they had discerning their charisms.
The Called & Gifted Discernment Process was delivered on behalf of the Archdiocese of Sydney’s Parish Renewal Team by instructors from the Catherine of Siena Institute, following the visit of the co-founder and executive director, Sherry Weddell, in May.
While here, Weddell delivered her Charisms: The Power of the Holy Spirit Unleashed program, explaining that charisms are the spiritual gifts given by the Holy Spirit to each person at baptism, in service of the church for building up the Kingdom of God.
“The church is fully alive when all the faithful are exercising their spiritual gifts in service of others and the church,” Tania Rimac of the Parish Renewal Team explained.
“This is why it is so important that each person identifies and exercises their particular charisms.”
The discernment process has been used by more than 150,000 lay, religious, and ordained Catholics in over 150 dioceses around the world, helping them to understand their charisms and the gifts they have been given to live as intentional disciples.
The group organised for the Archdiocese of Sydney was limited to 60 participants, with all places being filled within four days of registrations opening.
Rimac said she was “delighted and overwhelmed with the response. We even started a waiting list for future reference!”
“The quick response was exciting and most encouraging, as it showed the desire and eagerness of so many to know and understand their charisms.”
Cathy Kennedy, the Evangelisation Coordinator at St Declan’s Penshurst, said that the discernment process “has been a great blessing. As someone who has been involved in ministry for many years, it was great to have an opportunity to receive and grow.”
The Process included four online sessions with formation about the charisms, a Spiritual Gifts Inventory, a personal interview with a trained interviewer, and a period of in-depth discernment for experimenting with charisms in a small group.
“It has been really freeing, becoming more aware of the areas where I am gifted and the areas where I am not gifted,” Kennedy said.
“It has helped me to be more aware of how I can work in my strengths in our parish but also how I can encourage and empower others to work in theirs.”
Rimac said that when people know and understand their gifts, they are able to serve the church more confidently.
“God has a plan for each person, and for those of us who are baptised this includes using the spiritual gifts he has given us, to build his kingdom here on earth,” she said.
“I believe that this is a game-changer for our parishes. When more people discover this amazing gift, which is often lying dormant because we are unaware of it, our parishes will be on fire, by the power of the Holy Spirit alive and at work in us through our charisms!”
Lukas Rajnoch, another participant, said that discovering more about his charisms was “humbling and awe-inspiring.”
“I no longer feel the weight of needing to make things happen from my own strength, instead I seek to be open and attentive, allowing him to work through me and my charisms—how he wants, whenever he wants,” he said.
The Parish Renewal Team is excited to offer the Called & Gifted Discernment Process again early 2024, with more details to come. Subscribe to gomakedisciple.org.au/newsletter for details.