Initiation: Discernment Causes a Change in Plans

When my wife and I were preparing for marriage, our Catholic Engaged Encounter weekend experience made us realize there were five steps to making a decision: Prayer, Discernment, Mutual Decision, Mutual Responsibility, and Openness to Change.

That’s not only a good process for marriage, that’s a good process for any kind of decision…especially the openness to change. Only God knows what His plans are for us.  Through prayer, we become open to those plans, and, through the steps, we continue to be open to His will, the example of Jesus Christ, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

When considering this article regarding the Initiation element of the FIRES framework, I realized…there isn’t the need for one!  Of all the five elements, there are currently processes within the Catholic Church which provide instruction in the faith as we prepare to welcome new members to our faith community!  These are the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, the Rite of Christian Initiation for Children, and Baptism preparation classes for parents of newborns.

The secret to increasing enrollment in a school is to keep in constant contact with parents/guardians of prospective students, encouraging them to be continually engaged with the school community. This is one area where our schools can take a cue from our parishes, as these initiation programs do precisely that!  Isn’t it ironic that there’s a person who “owns” this process at the parish, yet there is usually no one who has a similar role at many Catholic elementary schools!

To review the structure of ParishAdvancement, there are 52 weeks in the year which are split into 2 “semesters” of 26 articles each. Five of the articles describe the FIRES framework, while there is only one “Initiation” entry (this one). Each of the other four elements will have five suggestions as to how parishes can move forward (advance) to foster Fellowship, regulate Revenue Management, encourage Evangelization and shepherd Stewardship.

Next week, Revenue Management!

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