Practicing The Art of Accompaniment In the Midst of Scandal

Written by Kristin Bird on .

What does accompaniment look like in the midst of the current crisis of abuse, cover up & scandal? It must mean first LISTENING.

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We need to practice the art of listening, which is more than simply hearing. Listening, in communication, is an openness of heart which makes possible that closeness without which genuine spiritual encounter cannot occur. Listening helps us to find the right gesture and word which shows that we are more than simply bystanders. Only through such respectful and compassionate listening can we enter on the paths of true growth and awaken a yearning for the Christian ideal: the desire to respond fully to Gods love and to bring to fruition what he has sown in our lives.

Person to Person Listening: Openness of Heart

We need to provide a space within our hearts for others to feel their despair, hopelessness, anger, betrayal, fear, denial and heartbreak - and then to simply sit with them in that place.

I am struck by how often we (all the Baptized) fall into the trap of trying to tell other people what to feel and how to think about all these matters. What starts as sharing my own emotions quickly turns into debating, posturing, defending, and becoming solution-focused.

When I jump to responding, I ignore the lived experience of the person in front of me. I focus on myself - my own defensiveness, skepticism, anger, etc - rather than being truly present to the other. When I jump to solutions, I am not truly present to brokenness.

We have a particular responsiblity to listen and be truly present to those who have been hurt, traumatized and destroyed by men acting in the name of the Church. It is especially important that we do not allow them to feel forgotten as the spin, politics, and finger pointing continue to make news.

We must pray for those who are still hurting while we argue - but genuine accompaniment calls us to more than prayer. It calls us to compassion, to empathy - to listening - rather than arguing.

Communal Listening:  Masses of Healing, Reparation, Atonement, & Repentence

What might this kind of listening look like the context of a larger community - a parish or a diocese?

Our Lady of Sorrows: Accompaniment for the Suffering

Written by Kristin Bird on .

September 15 is the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows.

May she who followed her Son to Calvary help us to follow him, carrying his cross with serenity and love, to reach the joy of Easter. May the Virgin of Sorrows especially comfort those who are facing the most difficult situations. (Pope Francis, March 24, 2013)

In her role as Our Lady of Sorrows, Mary becomes the mother who cries with us when we are suffering. 

When Simeon prohpesied at the temple that a sword would pierce her heart, did she know what that sword would be?  Did that prophesy fill her with dread?  Did she pray desperately to God to avoid it, even as she taught her young son to seek and obey God's will in his life?    As she listened to Jesus cry out on the cross, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me," (Mt 27:46) did she feel abandoned by God?  



kisspng quotation mark symbol pull quote sign marks vector 5ad89cafec1189.5207000815241453279669Mary lived in a different time and place. Her experience of daily living was nothing like mine in the details. She didn’t have the convenience of electricity, for one thing. Her vocation was outlined in a very different way.

And yet, I find that the Mother of God and I do share the humanity of suffering. As she stood at the foot of the Cross, she must have felt the full cascade of emotions and the brunt of sorrow. The three days before Jesus rose must have been torture.

It’s easier to lean back into the arms of someone who’s been there. I look to Mary and see the careworn face of a wife, daughter, and mother who has known the burden of everyday life, the small stings and the big burns. I turn to Mary and I feel the comfort of someone who has survived the suffering and offers me the same graces.

Sarah Reinhard, Integrated Catholic

In her role as the Sorrowful Mother, Mary shows us how - in a life filled with suffering - there is also grace.   When we are despondent and feeling hopeless, Our Lady of Sorrows can be a wellspring of hope.  She can cry with us in the midst of pain.  She can pray with us through our heartbreak.  She can wrap us in the comforting warmth of her motherly mantel and just be with us.  

ENGAGE: St. Pius X - Lafayette, LA

Written by Burning Hearts Team on .

At the end of Matthew's Gospel Jesus said, "Go and make disciples..." What did He mean by that? What is a Disciple? How do we know if we are one, or how do we become one?

On Saturday, September 8th, the ENGAGE Workshop will help us to learn more about the process of discipleship, how to identify where we are and what our next step could be.

Join us from 8:00 AM to 3:30 PM in the Parish Life Center to "Come and See" what the Lord wants to write upon our hearts to help all of us, the people of St. Pius, become His disciples.

For more information on the ENGAGE Discipleship Workshop, visit the St. Pius X website.  

ENGAGE Resources

Check back here in the days following the event for a list of the resources that were mentioned and to download the handouts we used.  These can be great tools to help you continue to grow in your journey of Intentional Discipleship and Missionary Discipleship.  All downloadable resources are free for your personal use and to distribute to friends and family - we just ask that you keep our copyright information intact.  

Green Bay Discipleship Seminar II: Follow Jesus

Written by Burning Hearts Team on .

Diocese of Green Bay Discipleship Seminar II: Follow Jesus

Burning Hearts Disciples is assisting the Diocese of Green Bay in continuing to deepening our friendship with Jesus Christ through Regional Discipleship Formation Seminars. These one-day seminars are designed to help key parish volunteer leaders and parish staff understand the challenges in forming disciples of Jesus Christ and the connection between evangelization, catechesis, parish life, and mission within the discipleship process. 

September 15, 2018
Our Lady of Lourdes - De Pere, WI
September 15, 2018
St. Gabriel - Neenah, WI
September 22, 2018
Holy Family Parish - Marinette, WI
September 29, 2018
St. Francis of Assisi - Manitowoc, WI
October 6, 2018
St. Mary Magdalene - Waupaca, WI
October 13, 2018
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton - Green Bay, WI
October 13, 2018
Corpus Christi - Sturgeon Bay, WI
October 27, 2018
St. Mary of the Lake - Lakewood, WI 
Thursday, October 25, 2018
KI Center - Green Bay, WI
November 3, 2018
St. Paul - Combined Locks, WI

Those who will be his disciples are already seeking him (cf. Jn 1:38), but it is the Lord who calls them: “Follow me” (Mk 1:14; Mt 9:9). This seminar will introduce participants to Jesus’ method of discipleship, the habits of discipleship and the necessity of focusing on healing within the missionary discipleship process.

Kalamazoo Institute of Missionary Discipleship - Art of Accompaniment

Written by Burning Hearts Team on .

We're thrilled to be a part of the Institute of Missionary Discipleship initiative in the The Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo. Consider joining us for this day-long Art of Accompaniment formation.

The Diocese of Kalamazoo introduces the Institute of Missionary Discipleship which offers the ability for Catholics to grow in their love and relationship with Jesus.  IMD offers trainings in ministry, spirituality, and theology. Participants grow in faith, relationship, and knowledge. All Catholic are encouraged to join and learn how they can grow as missionary disciples.

For more information on the Institute of Missionary Discipleship and their schedule of events, click here.  

Accompaniment Resources

Below are a list of the resources mentioned during this Formation Day.  These can be great tools to help you continue to grow in your understanding and application of the accompaniment principles covered. 

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