By: Jim - Ijamsville, Maryland
I first encountered ChristLife when one of my friends invited me to help him facilitate a small group. I said, "sure." The first night I went and immediately fell in love with the talks. I knew how awesome this series would be for me personally, my wife, our family, and our parish. And it really has been.
St. Ignatius started in September of 2014 and we're now at the end of our third delivery of the series. Several hundred people have gone through ChristLife at our parish. People have been touched in a big way through it and I want to share a few of those testimonies.
After we attended the ChristLife National Conference last year, my wife, one of our deacons, another one of our team members, and myself went back very fired up about things we needed to do. We recognized that we needed to be more formal as a team. It was loosely managed at that point, and our DRE was doing most of the heavy lifting. We went back to the parish and said, "We need to take this heavy lifting off of you and form a core team. We need to assign people to all of the responsibilities that are promoted in the training guide." So we did that.
We initiated a year-round monthly meeting every second Sunday for the core team to plan what is going on and what is coming. We now have a music ministry, hospitality team, greeters team, table facilitators, as well as our core team. It's an awesome ChristLife team overall! Every time we go through the ChristLife process, more and more people want to join the team. That's the goal—to get more and more people that want to facilitate small groups, help in hospitality, greet people.
We want people to want to become a missionary disciple. I am so blessed to tell you that’s happening in our parish.
By the way, our entire team went through the ChristLife training together. We will continue to do that each year as more people come on board. One of our biggest challenges is making sure each team member themselves are praying every day and have a personal relationship with the Lord.
Some of the things we've seen happen as a direct result of ChristLife include:
- A dozen people in the last two years have converted and became Catholics.
- Three other parishes in Frederick County, that were recruited by our DRE, now offer Discovering Christ.
- Scores of people are forming daily prayer lives, some starting with 2 minutes a day and some praying for longer.
- Couples who were struggling that went through ChristLife are now praying together. Their lives have changed dramatically and their marriages, too!
- People are now willing to get up at Mass, when Father Mike allows us to promote the next ChristLife Series, and share their experience, whereas before they were scared to even talk to each other.
- People are going to Mass and more reverently praying throughout the entire Mass and contemplating the Eucharist during the week.
There is tremendous working of the Holy Spirit in our parish!
One of the greatest things that is happening—although all of these are great—is the sense of love and fellowship that has been building among all the people going through the ChristLife process, extending out to others in our parish. It's very evident by participants signing up to volunteering for the other ministries in our parish.
There has been a resoundingly positive impact at St. Ignatius. I couldn't be more grateful for what God is doing and what ChristLife has meant to me, my family, and our parish.