This past week, I am began my new position as the Director of Adult Evangelization and Catechesis at Saint Mary Magdalene Catholic Church in Gilbert, Arizona. To say the least, and yes it’s only been one week; I have not been this joyful in a job for sometime. Out of the last three positions I have held, this one feels like a natural fit for me. A friend of mine said that between my education and experience, this position at the parish could be the dream job. It synthesizes my love for Jesus Christ and His Catholic Church, my innate ability to engage people in a relationship (this is evangelization!), my writing skills, as well as my teaching and public speaking experience.
Since the day I told Rev. Will Schimd, Pastor of Saint Mary Magdalene Catholic Church, I would accept the position, I have been giving praise and thanksgiving to Jesus Christ for answering my prayer of petition. I went to Daily Mass 4 out of 5 days this week. After walking back to my seat having just received Jesus Christ – body, blood, soul, and divinity in His Precious and Holy Eucharist, I would kneel down in prayer offering again praise and thanksgiving.
For four months, I prayed for busyness. On Monday, November 4, busyness took on a whole new meaning for me. It was a Baptism by Fire that grabbed me from the moment I walked into the parish office and into my “own” (sharing the space for the time being with Gretchen) office. The “good” kind of stress was upon me again and I loved every minute of it.
Between getting my computer set-up, setting up my email, coming up with passwords, learning the procedures of the office, designing and ordering my business cards (this tested my patience!), laughing at Fr. Chris and his #hashtag remarks, leading RCIA on the first day (at night), and teaching the last class for Adult Confirmation this semester, it has begun to already feel like home.
The staff at St. Mary Magdalene is one of the most joyful (just as Pope Francis has been proclaiming) groups of individuals I have met in a long time. Trust me, in my years of work experience; I have worked with some rather joyless individuals. You couldn’t turn their frowns upside down with all the Pixie Dust and happy thoughts in Never Never Land.
It’s hard to even explain in writing what my first days have been like. It’s been a real culture shock for me. It’s not perfect, I am not saying that at all and nothing we do as humans is perfect, but there is a special grace, a movement of the Holy Spirit that is really impacting the parish.
Along with my co-workers, the parishioners I have met carry that same zeal. Daily Mass is packed (as are the weekend Masses)! The positive comments and excitement that comes through their lips when I was introduced or would introduce myself is beyond words. This week, and yes it’s the first week (I know!), has been a week of fresh air (maybe it’s the same “wind” that the Apostles heard and felt at Pentecost). I was told even before I stepped foot on the parish grounds that the Holy Spirit is very active in the Southeast Valley of Metropolitan Phoenix.
I offer up this prayer: Through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Queen Mother and Advocate, All the Angels and Saints, I give all Praise and Thanksgiving to Jesus Christ, my Lord, Savior, and personal friend, for hearing my prayers and the prayers of those who were praying for me during the past four months. Thank You Jesus for getting me a position that I am going to truly love, and with your assistance, brings souls closer to you. It’s only through you that I will work as an instrument. In the words of St. Francis de Sales, “Bring me souls, away with the rest.” Amen!