Siena E-Scribe, Newsletter of the Catherine of Siena Institute, Colorado Springs, Colorado
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November 2007
In This Issue

Fishing Without Enough Bait
In the attempt to draw young men to the priesthood we use websites, videos, posters, and the example of priests to generate interest and excitement. But are we portraying the fullness of priesthood? What are the consequences for vocations when there is a systematic gap in our vocations materials?

Putting Proverbs 23:23 into Practice
Mark Egbert has the freedom to leave his job on Fridays to teach with the Institute over a weekend. But the work he does with his friend, Greg Palka, has the feel of a mission as they help members of "the Greatest Generation" pass on their legacy.


On the Web

The Last Supper in Detail
Brought to you by HAL9000, which provides tools for works of art restoration and viewing, digital photo compositing and retouching, scientific and macro imaging.
This website allows you to examine great works of art close up, and includes information on the artwork to help you better understand the significance of the images. This site is fascinating, beautiful, and informative.

The Social Agenda
On this website those who seek a better knowledge of the social doctrine of the Church will find the central statements of the Roman Pontiffs from a range of texts, including papal encyclicals, apostolic letters, and conciliar documents, on matters relating to politics, economics, and culture. The selections are arranged thematically according to the significant subject areas of Catholic social doctrine. Under each subject heading, the quotations appear in pedagogical - as opposed to chronological or magisterial - order, with each subject area opening with a quotation that explains the issue at hand.

The Crossroads Initiative
Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Ph.D., is a teacher who covers a broad range of subjects from historical, dogmatic, and sacramental theology to evangelization, ecumenism, and Vatican II, yet his teaching remains relevant to the challenges of everyday life. On this page you will find links to scripture resources and commentaries that will help you read the Bible with more understanding.

The Journey
Here you will find some brief reflections on the daily readings from a group of laity, religious, and clergy.


Making Disciples Workshop

This is a workshop for pastors, parish staff, and other lay leaders who would like to explore how to foster a culture of intentional discipleship and discernment in their parishes. The formation provided will help participants learn how to evangelize parishioners who will then worship, pray, give, study their faith, and discern God's call for them out of a loving relationship with Christ.
Cost for either venue:
Commuter (training + meals only)    $545 per person
On-site (training, room + meals)    $695 per person
For information or to make reservations, contact Mike Dillon at the Institute office.

January 7-10, 2008
Menlo Park, CA
(Diocese of San Jose, CA)
Vallombrosa Center

A two-day version of Making Disciples will be given at the Western Dominican Province Parish Ministry Conference, 250 Oak Grove Ave., Menlo Park, CA.
Fr. Mike Fones, O.P. and Sherry Weddell will be giving a workshop on intentional discipleship and the identification of stages of spiritual development.
CONTACT: Mike Dillon at 888-878-6789 (toll-free), or via e-mail.

Parish Missions

December 3-5, 2007
Phoenix, AZ
(Diocese of Phoenix)
SS. Simon and Jude Cathedral
The Center of the Rose
The great rose windows of European Gothic cathedrals are designed to focus our attention on the center, and most often what is found there is Jesus, with his mother, Mary. Like a rose window, the life of the disciple must center on Jesus and be modeled after Mary, the first disciple. In this Advent mission, Fr. Mike will explore discipleship as trust in the Father and an intentional relationship of love with Jesus.
6351 N 27th Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85017
CONTACT: Pam Lambros, Director of Stewardship and Communications, or the
Parish Office at (602) 242-1300 Ext. 112

February 10-13, 2008
Bloomington, IN
(Archdiocese of Indianapolis)
St. Paul Catholic Newman Center

A Lenten mission given by Sherry Weddell and Fr. Mike Fones, O.P.
CONTACT: Parish Office or Fr. Father Bob Keller O.P., Pastor at (812) 339-5561 x15.

March 10-13, 2008
Aurora, IL
(Diocese of Rockford)
St. Rita of Cascia Catholic Church
A Lenten mission given by Fr. Mike Fones, O.P.
CONTACT: Mary George, Director of Evangelization, or the Parish Office at (630) 892-6089.

March 17-19, 2008
Eugene, OR
(Archdiocese of Portland)
St. Thomas More Newman Center

A Holy Week mission given by Fr. Mike Fones, O.P.
CONTACT: Corinne Lopez, Director of Faith Formation, or the Newman Center Office at (541) 343-7021 ext 23.

Called & Gifted Workshops

January 4-5, 2008Bloomingdale, IL
(Diocese of Joliet)
St. Isidore Catholic Church

Spanish Language Called & Gifted workshop
CONTACT: Leonor Carvajal, or the St Isidore Parish Office at (630) 529-3045.

Pasco, WA
(Diocese of Spokane)
St. Patrick Catholic Church
CONTACT: Father Daniel Barnett, Pastor, or the Parish Office at (509) 547-8841.

January 4, 2008
Houston, TX
(Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston)
St. Francis de Sales Catholic School
A special, one-day Called & Gifted Workshop for Catholic school teachers and staff.
CONTACT: Sandra Mendez, Principal, or the School Office at (713) 774-4447.

January 11-12, 2008
Renton, WA
(Archdiocese of Seattle)
St. Stephen the Martyr Catholic Church
CONTACT: Cynde Bosshart, Adult Faith Formation & Family Ministry Director, or the Parish Office at (253) 631-1940 x104.

January 12, 2008
Jetmore, KS
(Diocese of Dodge City)

St. Lawrence Catholic Church
A special one-day Called & Gifted workshop.
CONTACT: Becky Hessman, Vocations Coordinator for the Diocese of Dodge City at (620) 227-1530

January 13, 2008
Jetmore, KS
(Diocese of Dodge City)

St. Lawrence Catholic Church
A special one-day High School/Teen Called & Gifted Workshop.
CONTACT: Becky Hessman, Vocations Coordinator for the Diocese of Dodge City at (620) 227-1530

January 18-19, 2008
Moses Lake, WA
(Diocese of Yakima)

Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church
CONTACT: Cleo Stevens, or the Parish Office at (509) 765-6729.

Spokane WA
(Diocese of Spokane)
St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church

CONTACT: Judy Leach, Youth Formation Coordinator, or the Parish Office at (509) 994-8016.

Spring, TX
(Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston)
St. James the Apostle Catholic Church

A one-day Called & Gifted workshop.
CONTACT: Bob McInturff, Director of Religious Education, or the Parish Office at (281) 353-5053.

January 25-26, 2008
Riverside, CA
(Diocese of San Bernardino)
St. Andrew's Catholic Newman Center

CONTACT: Leslie Ann Webster, or the Newman Center Office at (951) 682-8751.

Vancouver, WA
(Archdiocese of Seattle)
St. Joseph Catholic Church
CONTACT: Dale Magers, Stewardship Director, or the Parish Office at (360) 696-4473.

February 15-16, 2008
Moses Lake, WA

(Archdiocese of Yakima)
Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church
CONTACT: Father Felipe Pulido, Pastor or the Our Lady of Fatima Parish Office at (509) 765-6729.

Prague, OK
(Archdiocese of Oklahoma City)
St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church

CONTACT: Father Shane Tharp, Pastor, or the Parish Office at (405) 567-3404.


Interviewer Training

Learn how to help others (as individuals or in small groups) to discern their charisms.
* Basic listening skills and spiritual maturity (best if practicing Christian for 2 years prior)
* Must have attended live Called & Gifted workshop or listened to CDs or audio tapes, took Catholic Spiritual Gifts Inventory, did some personal discernment, had a one-on-one personal Gifts Interview.

February 8-9, 2008Greenville, SC
(Diocese of Charleston, SC)
Twigs Tempietto

CONTACT: Kate Tierney at (864) 234-2471; or the Catherine of Siena Institute office: (719) 219-0056.

Support the Institute

The Catherine of Siena Institute is a religious non-profit with 501C-3 status. We receive no financial support from any diocese or from the Western Dominican Province, but are entirely self-supporting. Your donations and gifts-in-kind are essential to our ongoing operations.

Please consider participating in planned giving with the Catherine of Siena Institute. As you write your plan for the future help us expand our efforts in the formation of intentional lay disciples.

To learn how you can help us, please contact our Development Officer, Mr. George Martelon at (303) 847-7052.

Thank You

Once again, thank you to Anna Elias-Cesnik and Patricia Mees Armstrong for their help in editing this edition of the e-Scribe. Please keep Patricia in your prayers as she continues to battle with cancer. Fr. Paul Wicker always leaves the door of his home open to Fr. Mike when he's in Colorado Springs. Col. Liz Anderson continues to let Fr. Mike use Lazarus, her second car, while he's in the Springs.


Fishing Without Enough Bait
by Fr. Michael Fones, O.P., co-director, Catherine of Siena Institute

The vocations video, Fishers of Men, produced by Grassroots Films for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, first came to my attention a few weeks ago when it was shown after Masses at a Church where I had helped present a Called & Gifted workshop. It's a well-made video, with a stirring soundtrack, good production values, and wonderful comments from priests, young and old, who have joyfully embraced their vocations.  It depicts priests being ordained, seminarians in the classroom and the chapel, priests engaged in pastoral counseling and presiding over celebrations of the sacraments, particularly the Eucharist. But there's a crucial aspect of priesthood that's missing, and not only is it missing in the vocations video, it's missing from the ministerial lives of many, many priests.

Let's look first at what the Code of Canon Law has to say about the obligations and rights of all Christians, of the laity in particular, and of priests. 

The Basic Obligation of all the Christian Faithful

Whether one is lay, religious or ordained, we all have a common basic duty and the right to pursue that duty: the spread of the Gospel in obedience to Jesus' command to "go and make disciples of all nations…" (Mt. 28:19)  This basic obligation is found in Canon 211 All the Christian faithful have the duty and right to work so that the divine message of salvation more and more reaches all people in every age and in every land.  This canon captures the reason for the Church's existence and is at the heart of the mission and ministry of the priest.  The vocation video title, Fishers of Men, is a powerful image in conveying the mission of the whole Church.

The Obligations and Rights of the Lay Christian Faithful

For the lay Christian, the focus is particularly on the fish who have not yet been caught! The lay faithful are also called upon to improve the general health of the sea in which the fish live.  Canon 225 deals with this in two compelling paragraphs:

§1. Since, like all the Christian faithful, lay persons are designated by God for the apostolate through baptism and confirmation, they are bound by the general obligation and possess the right as individuals, or joined in associations, to work so that the divine message of salvation is made known and accepted by all persons everywhere in the world. This obligation is even more compelling in those circumstances in which only through them can people hear the gospel and know Christ.

§2. According to each one’s own condition, they are also bound by a particular duty to imbue and perfect the order of temporal affairs with the spirit of the gospel and thus to give witness to Christ, especially in carrying out these same affairs and in exercising secular function.

The lay person, whether a street cleaner, business person, attorney, housewife, or rancher, is bound to help every person on the face of the earth encounter the risen Lord and help transform the temporal society so that it reflects God's purposes and the dignity given each human by the Creator.

An important question – the question that is behind this article – is, "How will this happen without a proper formation – that is, a formation that is suited to the complexity of temporal society and the tremendous variety of situations lay persons will encounter throughout their lives?"  The code begins to answer that in canon 229 §1. Lay persons are bound by the obligation and possess the right to acquire knowledge of Christian doctrine appropriate to the capacity and condition of each in order for them to be able to live according to this doctrine, announce it themselves, defend it if necessary, and take their part in exercising the apostolate.

So a part of the formation of lay persons is an appropriate understanding of Christian doctrine.  This ties in with the prophetic, or teaching, role of the priest in his ministry.  But the understanding of Christian doctrine also is gained through the participation of the rituals that surround the sacraments.  An appreciation for, and experiential knowledge of Christ is gained when we encounter his healing in the anointing of the sick and his power to forgive in reconciliation, for example.  In the sacraments of vocation (Matrimony and Holy Orders), we experience his self-giving love and the call to lay down our lives for others (cf. John 15:13)  But knowledge of Christian doctrine, whether through experience or proclamation and catechesis, is crucial if lay persons are to engage in the apostolate described in canon 225 above.

This is where Fishers of Men, (and each vocation website I examined in preparation for this article), is lacking.  The priestly and, sometimes, the prophetic aspects of a cleric's life are considered, but without any real acknowledgment of that mission to the world in which the laity play such a crucial part.  In other words, the royal ministry of the priest, which has to do primarily with equipping the laity for their mission to the world, is absent.  Yet the successful engagement of that mission by the laity is a sign of the fruitfulness of the priest's sacramental and teaching ministries!

The Obligations and Rights of Clerics

The Code of Canon Law mentions that priests are to "acknowledge and promote the mission which the laity, each for his or her part, exercise in the Church and in the world." Can. 275 §2.

Several descriptions of the life of the priest that I read on diocesan and archdiocesan vocation pages were drawn from canon law's description of the obligations of a pastor.
Yet, when it comes to describing the office of the pastor and how he expresses his priestly, prophetic and royal ministry, it is hard to see the relation between these aspects of his office and the promotion of the mission the laity have in the world.  Here's what the Code says:

Can. 528 §1. A pastor is obliged to make provision so that the word of God is proclaimed in its entirety to those living in the parish; for this reason, he is to take care that the lay members of the Christian faithful are instructed in the truths of the faith, especially by giving a homily on Sundays and holy days of obligation and by offering catechetical instruction. He is to foster works through which the spirit of the gospel is promoted, even in what pertains to social justice. He is to have particular care for the Catholic education of children and youth. He is to make every effort, even with the collaboration of the Christian faithful, so that the message of the gospel comes also to those who have ceased the practice of their religion or do not profess the true faith.

§2. The pastor is to see to it that the Most Holy Eucharist is the center of the parish assembly of the faithful. He is to work so that the Christian faithful are nourished through the devout celebration of the sacraments and, in a special way, that they frequently approach the sacraments of the Most Holy Eucharist and penance. He is also to endeavor that they are led to practice prayer even as families and take part consciously and actively in the sacred liturgy ….

This canon describes the pastor's prophetic and priestly function for the Christian community.  The two paragraphs of Canon 529 describe his royal function in an interesting way:

Can. 529 §1. In order to fulfill his office diligently, a pastor is to strive to know the faithful entrusted to his care. Therefore he is to visit families, sharing especially in the cares, anxieties, and griefs of the faithful, strengthening them in the Lord, and prudently correcting them if they are failing in certain areas. With generous love he is to help the sick, particularly those close to death, by refreshing them solicitously with the sacraments and commending their souls to God; with particular diligence he is to seek out the poor, the afflicted, the lonely, those exiled from their country, and similarly those weighed down by special difficulties. He is to work so that spouses and parents are supported in fulfilling their proper duties and is to foster growth of Christian life in the family.
§2. A pastor is to recognize and promote the proper part which the lay members of the Christian faithful have in the mission of the Church, by fostering their associations for the purposes of religion…

The first paragraph emphasizes the need for the pastor to know the lay faithful who have been entrusted to his pastoral care, and that certainly is a beloved image of the priest: one who is with his parishioners in the most significant moments of their lives.  But how is one to interpret the job of "prudently correcting them if they are failing in certain areas"?  If that correction had to do with matters of doctrine, I would expect it to appear in the section on the pastor's teaching function (Can. 528 §1).  Since the second paragraph focuses more specifically on the proper part of the laity in the mission to the world, I would suggest that at least one "area for correction" would be those situations in which the laity are neglecting - or even denying - that mission.

Canon law does not exhaust the Church's instruction on what it means to be a priest.  In addition to sharing the lives of his parishioners, a priest is called to acknowledge and discern the spiritual gifts they have been given, and help them recognize them, too.  Priests are called, in fact, to recognize, uncover with faith, acknowledge with joy, foster with diligence, appreciate, judge and discern, coordinate and put to good use, and have “heartfelt esteem” for the charisms of all the baptized. (cf. Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, 30; Decree on Ministry and Life of Priests, 9; I Will Give You Shepherds, 40, 74; Lay Members of Christ’s Faithful People, 32)  This is an incredibly important aspect of what it means to exercise pastoral governance, the heart of a priest's royal ministry. 

Of course, that's a bit complex to demonstrate in the context of a short video, especially since very few lay people have experienced a priest who has assisted them in discerning their spiritual gifts, much less consciously coordinating them for the mission to the local culture.

As inspiring as Fishers of Men is, a vital part of the priest's vocation is absent.  We priests are not simply teachers and sacramental ministers.  If we are truly to act in persona Christi capitis (in the person of Christ the Head), we must not only teach and heal as Jesus did, we must also form and prepare (lay) apostles to take the Gospel to the world!

The descriptions of the life of a priest that I read on the internet feature the priest as the minister and everyone else as the recipient of ministry.  The image of a priest as an animator of a community of fellow disciples preparing for an exciting mission to the world is absent.  Pope Paul VI's The Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests and Pope John Paul II's I Will Give You Shepherds describe more of the collaborative relationship between cleric and lay person.  These documents call the priest to cooperate with the laity in mission to world, listen to the laity, recognize lay expertise, awaken & deepen lay co-responsibility for the Church's mission, confidently entrust duties to the laity, invite lay initiative, help lay people explore and discern vocation, and form and support secular apostles. c.f. Decree on Ministry and Life of Priests, 9; I Will Give You Shepherds, 59; 74

Implications for Priestly Vocations

Why am I so interested in the image of the priest portrayed in vocational materials?  I believe that some young men may not consider a vocation to priesthood if a critical aspect of priestly life is not lived fully by most priests and is not "advertised" in vocation promotional materials.  That part of priesthood has to do with the royal ministry of Christ; that ministry of forming others, of governing the charisms of the laity and coordinating their use within the parish and in the mission of bringing Christ to the world.

Some young men may well be primarily attracted to the idea of bringing Christ to the faithful through the prayerful celebration of the sacraments.  Others may feel called particularly to instruct the faithful through creative and insightful homilies, classes on Scripture, and through the proclamation of the Gospel in the RCIA process, for example.  I know priests who would fall into those categories, and they're wonderful ministers.  There are priests who spend as much of their time and energy as they can in pastoral counseling to individuals.  They enjoy getting to know their parishioners, and there is a wonderful affection and even love shared among these pastors and the people they serve.

But is it not possible that there are men who are gifted by God to help form others – and who feel called to do so?  These men could embody that part of fatherhood that calls forth the best from others and empowers them to take their place in the world and in their unique vocation.  Many young Catholic men want to make a difference in the world.  Some are called to do so directly, through working in the business world, in politics, in the fields of law, medicine, scientific research, agriculture, the arts, and more.  But I believe there are also men who want to make a difference by empowering others to make a difference in cooperation with the Holy Spirit.  They dream of seeing others realize their potential, and can imagine a multiplying effect as those enthusiastic disciples of Jesus touch the lives of those who have not yet met Him and transform the worlds of business, politics, law, medicine, science, the arts – in short, the temporal world.  Some of them may rightly discern a call to marriage, in which that empowerment will be directed toward their spouse and children. 

But some might be delighted to find that dream fulfilled as a priest – if only they knew the whole story of what it means to be a priest.

While I enjoy teaching and am often awestruck at the opportunity to celebrate the sacraments with God's beloved people, I find my priesthood is not complete unless these help transform people into active disciples of Jesus who long to discern His will for their lives and use their gifts in his mission to the world.  When that happens, it's a beautiful experience, and I know my priesthood – and thus my life - is bearing fruit.

Moreover, I myself become part of the bait the Lord might use to lure a young man to consider a life of service as a priest.


Putting Proverbs 23:23 into Practice
by Fr. Michael Fones, O.P., co-director, Catherine of Siena Institute

Listen to your father who begot you, and despise not your mother when she is old. Proverbs 23:23

I was born at the tail end of the Baby Boom, that great explosion of births after the Second World War, and into the mid-sixties.  My brother, who turns sixty in a year, was born near the beginning.  (My sister, who was born between us, claims she is part of Gen-X, but you'd have to ask her how that could be possible.) Our parents are now 85, and are part of that ever-growing population of the elderly who are confronted on a daily basis with the realization that life is drawing to a close.

Improvements in health care are helping millions of Americans live well past the age of 75, and that has placed a tremendous burden on Medicaid, which is trillions of dollars in debt.  The situation is so desperate, that governors of nineteen states have told their constituents that Medicaid will likely not be available to them in the near future.  Even if reliance on Medicaid is possible, it is not a comforting thought to many senior citizens, since it eliminates many options for care: it only pays for a nursing home, not home health care.

In addition to the specter of expensive long-term health care, the elderly have to negotiate taxes, the vagaries of the stock market, and the possibility of their estates going into a drawn-out probate processes.  The first three can significantly reduce the resources available to an aging person, and also reduce the financial legacy they can leave to family and charitable institutions, for example.

Greg Palka, a parishioner at St. Patrick Church in Colorado Springs, knew his father needed significant care as he became elderly and infirm.  For a variety of reasons, his dad's last options were limited to relying on Medicaid to pay for life in a nursing home, or having his daughter quit her job to care for him in his own home.  Greg's siblings decided on the latter option, and his family joined the 63% of families in this country who provide their own health care for an elderly parent.  Greg has since learned that such long-term medical care has the highest rate of incidence among catastrophic financial problems among the elderly, but it is the least insured.

When his father died, the settling of the estate was a painful experience, and caused friction when an estranged sibling showed up to demand his part.  First-hand experience of what many families suffer through after the death of a parent stuck with Greg.

After leaving the Army in 2003, Greg began to sing in the choir at St. Patrick's, where he met another former military man, Mark Egbert.  Greg invited Mark and his wife, Michelle, to the Palka home to meet with Greg and his wife, Connie, and some other couples in a prayer and study group.  Greg and Mark soon discovered a common interest in entrepreneurship.  Mark had spent much of the 1990s working in the financial services area, and was a licensed insurance broker as well, while Greg had ended up working as a mortgage broker after leaving the Army. 

They decided to team up to help people who are approaching retirement or are already retired to manage their money wisely, so fewer families would have to go through what Greg's did.

When people are young they are in a stage of accumulating resources, and those who invest are often encouraged to do so aggressively, to maximize the potential for profit. While there's also greater risk of loss, when a person is young, they have more time ahead of them to recoup those losses. 

The same is not true for those who are approaching retirement or who are already retired.  These are people who need low- or no-risk investments.  Despite some early setbacks, Greg said, "God opened a series of windows for us," and they were able to begin working together as The Wealth Preservers.  Their goal is "eliminating the financial alligators that threaten the peace of mind" of folks primarily in the fifty- to eighty- year old range. 

What do they do?

Not only do they offer seminars to introduce folks nearing – or in – retirement to the idea of "no market risk" investments appropriate to their stage in life, Mark and Greg also are keenly interested in helping this aging generation pass on a legacy that transcends the financial. Their goal is to help the aged secure their dignity in old age, and pass on their values and all that is important to them to their children.

When they first meet with a client, they ask the individual to complete a nine-page questionnaire that asks the individual if they have talked about death with their loved ones, if they have planned for their funeral, considered how to distribute material possessions that may not have much material value but that have sentimental value?  They make sure the individual has completed a will with an attorney, and ask questions regarding who may have durable power of attorney.  Mark and Greg are aware of the issues that confront families when a beloved parent or spouse dies, and they find that those who are aging often want to talk about these issues, even if the rest of the family is avoiding them.

As the name of their business suggests, Mark and Greg are not primarily financial planners, but wealth preservers.  There is planning involved, as they help retirees discover financial strategies that avoid market risk that can drastically reduce savings, yet keep up with inflation.  Often they work with clients who may be only have a pension as their retirement fund: school district employees, police officers, firefighters - people who have spent their careers helping others.  Mark and Greg focus on helping their clients leave a legacy.  Distribution of property is one part of legacy planning, but very few people have given much consideration on how they might pass on values that are important to them, whether through conversations, audiotapes and CDs, or videos.  Few families have directly confronted the issues of wills and power of attorney, the reality of taxes on estates, or the possibility of probate court if children want to fight over who gets the old family dining room table. Greg and Mark facilitate such conversations among families, and help them accept the reality of "mom and dad dying into new life."  Greg says, "Every client knows that we're Catholic.  We talk about God in our workshops and we pray at the end.  This work is an expression of our faith."  

How is it an expression of their faith?

Greg told a story of how he met with a client, an 81-year-old woman.  She had been married 50 years, and had cared for her husband for 38 years after he had a brain injury.  She had raised her family and had been an independent businesswoman.  She had even lived in China, and her home contained mementos from her years there.  When he arrived at her home, she informed him, "No one can come into my house." So Greg took her for coffee, and together they walked through the questionnaire Greg and Mark had designed.  When he took her back home, she invited him into her home.  "It's about trust and love.  If you can bring Christ to people and do it with integrity and in a Christ-centered love, that's the greatest gift we can give to our clients."

What charisms might they be using?

I asked Mark, who teaches the Called & Gifted workshop, and Greg, who has completed the Catholic Spiritual Gifts Inventory and talked it over with Mark, what charisms they might be seeing in their work: For Mark, it is clearly teaching. He enjoys being able to present what can otherwise be baffling information in an understandable way.  I have to admit, he did a great job walking me through some of the details of the financial side of their work!

Greg is discerning the charism of hospitality.  The Egberts got a taste of that gift when Greg invited them to his home shortly after meeting them.  In their work with elderly clients, the ability to be a channel of God's love by warmly welcoming and caring for them is important.  It allows them to feel comfortable enough to ask questions they need to have answered.

Greg and Mark are passionate about helping people feel financially secure as they enter "the golden years."  They are also passionate about letting their clients know they are people of faith and, as people come to terms with their mortality, issues of faith become more acute.  Greg commented that people often say things to them like, "It's wonderful to listen to folks who love Christ.  It's apparent; you're not hiding it – it's a blessing."  They both agree that their work is a source of joy.  They love God, people, and the work they do.  Mark emphasized, "it's not work at all; it's a mission." 

If you have questions about legacy planning, you can contact Greg and Mark.  They may know someone in your area who can help, or they may be able to answer a question for you.



The Catherine of Siena Institute is affiliated with the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, Berkeley, California