April 10, 2013

Emphasis on prayer, evangelization earn Day of Spiritual Reflection enthusiastic reviews

Detroit Bishop Arturo Cepeda celebrated Mass and delivered a homily of encouragement to participants.

Positive feedback from participants at a recent Changing Lives Together Day of Spiritual Reflection has event organizers considering offering another day-long event. More than 90 lay faithful, clergy, and women religious attended the February 23 gathering at St. Hugo of the Hills Parishin Bloomfield Hills.“It was a real blessing to attend the Day of Reflection, especially during Lent,” said Ann-Marie Krul, a Dearborn resident and parishioner at St. Florian Parish in Hamtramck, her childhood parish. “I enjoyed the prayerful atmosphere and meeting people from so many other parishes,” she added. Krul was a Changing Lives Together volunteer at St. Florian, where parishioners have pledged more than $148,000.

Prayerful reflection was the emphasis of the day.

“The emphasis on prayer and reflecting with others about evangelization was a perfect complement to what’s happening at my parish,” said Cris Mattoon, a pastoral council member at St. Frances Cabrini Parish in Allen Park, where parishioners have pledged nearly $2 million in a highly successful campaign. “Our pastor, Father Joe Mallia, has emphasized the constants of prayer and evangelization before, during, and after the fundraising phase of Changing Lives Together,” Mattoon explained. “It was really uplifting to be among so many others igniting Changing Lives Together at their parishes,” he added. More than 30 new catechumens were welcomed into the faith at the Easter Vigil service at St. Frances Cabrini. “We are on fire,” Mattoon concluded.

Patti Koval and Tom Scholler, Day of Reflection co-chairs with Sr. Ann Shields, who delivered a talk on prayer.

Patti Koval, a parishioner at Holy Name Parish in Birmingham, and co-chair of the Changing Lives Together Prayer Committee, moderated the Day of Reflection. “It was more than I hoped for,” she said. “There was enthusiasm amplified by Lent, and participants were touched by the conscience of the day,” she added.

Carolyn and James Larkin, parishioners at St. Anthony Parish in Belleville, enjoyed the atmosphere. “It was a great push for the New Evangelization and the responsibility of lay people as individual evangelists, said Carolyn. “We also wanted to hear Sr. Ann Shields talk – we’ve been following her for 20 years and it’s always a joy to hear her words of inspiration.” Sr. Shields, superior of the Servants of God’s Love, a charismatic religious community canonically established in the Diocese of Lansing, delivered a talk on how to pray. Judy Maten, Detroit Archdiocese associate director of Office of Evangelization and Catechesis from the Detroit Archdiocese, presented on ‘Our Union with God’, and Paco Gavrilides, faculty member at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, spoke on ‘Anointed for the New Evangelization’.

Parishioners from nearly 50 parishes attended the Day of Reflection, offered in appreciation of volunteer and donor involvement in Changing Lives Together.

Michelle Spisz of St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Lake Orion said the Day of Reflection proved to be worth the weekend time investment. “The Day of Reflection strengthened my faith,” she said. “What more could I ask or expect?”

“We emphasized this as a day of spiritual reflection, prayer, and evangelization as opposed to a retreat,” recalled Koval. “Beyond Sr. Shields’s talk on prayer, we had prayer teams praying over attendees with special intentions,” she said. “We offered confessions and had a genuinely prayerful atmosphere,” she continued. “One attendee wrote ‘inspirational’ four times as feedback, and that’s what we wanted to accomplish.”

A similar Changing Lives Together gathering at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in September last year attracted about 40 volunteers and donors. “Several people said we need to do more of these,” said Koval. “I’m prayerfully optimistic that will happen.”

Updated: April 2013

Changing Lives Together is a series of parish campaigns to generate resources to fulfill parish-developed plans and priorities. Learn more about the initiative in your parish.