This past week I met with a group of Stephen ministers. You might know that we have something called “Stephen Ministry” here at St. Francis. It’s a group of people that has gone through training to be “listeners” for those who might be going through a hard time in their lives, for example a job loss or a divorce or some kind of grief.

At our meeting, the question came up of “how do you know when to bring spirituality into a meeting?” When you’re with someone and listening and they are telling you things about their life, how do you know if/when to bring some kind of God-talk into the conversation? We had a good discussion about this. What it came down to was, it’s not a matter of bringing in the spiritual part from outside, as if the God part enters into the conversation and then departs. Instead, the very fact of the encounter, the very fact of one person speaking and the other actively listening is itself a holy moment, a moment open to grace, an encounter with Christ himself. We are there to gently receive. The presence of God is always already there.

If you or someone you know is going through a dark time in their life, you can contact Kathleen Owen here at the parish and she can speak to you more about how Stephen Ministry works. We are blessed to have this ministry here at St. Francis.

A quick update on the Bethany Hills Baptist Church: a month or so ago I wrote in this space that a Vietnamese Catholic Community called Our Lady of La Vang is seriously looking at buying the Bethany Hills property. OLOLV continues to work on a financial plan. This Sunday, they will celebrate a mass here at St. Francis at 2:00 pm, and after mass they will visit the Bethany Hills property so that their community can get a first-hand look at it. I will keep the parish informed as this goes forward.

Blessings on your week!

Fr. Steve