FIRE Program at Holy Spirit
When Samuel the prophet was a young man, he heard the Lord God call to him in the middle of the night. He thought it was Eli, his Master, calling him and he reported to Eli for duty saying “Here I am.” But Eli assured him he did not call him. After the third time, Eli realized it was the Lord calling Samuel and instructed Samuel to respond, “Lord, speak, your servant is listening.” Eli instructed Samuel on how to listen to the Spirit of God calling him to do his work and respond affirmatively.
In the gospel today, we hear how Mary, mother of Jesus, tells the servants to do whatever Jesus tells them to do. Again, we see Mary instructing the servants on how to listen to the Spirit of God calling them to do his work by listening to Jesus and responding affirmatively.
As Christians we are all called to listen to Christ and discern where God is leading us. But often we need some instruction on how to do this and not be distracted by the many other voices we hear. Learning to listen to the will of God in our lives requires some skills and it can be learned.
In January, we began a new pilot program called FIRE that will train 21 staff and parish leaders in the art of listening to God in their lives – the art of discernment. These 21 participants are persons who have already demonstrated strong leadership skills within the community and have been chosen by the pastoral team to be shaped in FIRE’s process of spiritual, psychological, ministerial, and professional formation.
The leadership team for this program is called “FIRE Core Team” and is comprised of 3 spiritual directors, 2 psychological counselors, 2 life coaches, 1 health advocate (medical doctor) and a communications director. The FIRE program is led by Fr. Dave Ayotte, S.J. who is a Jesuit trained Spiritual Director and living at the Jesuit Retreat House in Los Altos.
FIRE is a 5-month program (January-May, 2016) of intensive personal formation of Christian leaders for greater service within the parish and the larger Church. We started with a 3-day retreat and we will complete the program with a 3-day retreat. In between, we have asked each of the FIRE participants to commit to 12 hours/week to the program, including an hour daily in prayer. Each participant will meet with a spiritual director once a week as well as once a month with the counselor, life coach and health advocate to address all aspects of their lives that could possibly provide obstacles for spiritual growth.
Objectives for FIRE participants:
- Greater commitment to the mission of the parish and Church.
- Deepening of their confidence in their being chosen to lead and discerning the role of Christ in their life and the Church.
- Positive and creative addressing of obstacles to living their call as Christian leaders.
Objectives for Holy Spirit Parish:
- Expanding the resources of key leaders in the parish to assume greater responsibility in the parish and the Church.
- Provide a pool of talent who can more generously share the ministry workload that has fallen upon a few key individuals.
- Through delegation, free up the time and resources for key leaders in the parish to vision and respond adequately to the promptings of the Holy Spirit for new and challenging directions of growth.
Please pray for the 30 participants in FIRE and support these leaders in their own desire to deepen their commitment to the life of the Church.
This is a very exciting new program and it is our hope to expand this program to more parishioners in the years ahead. We will keep you informed as we move forward. Thank you for your support.