By: Cecilia, ChristLife Administrator at St. Paul Catholic Church in Flowood, MS
As we prepared to run ChristLife at St. Paul's, our first line of business was to establish an Intercessory Prayer Team. The team purposely prayed for ChristLife and the team members as we developed our processes and leaders. We prayed for three months before we sat down to select facilitators and, when we did, we were totally shocked that names were flying off of our lips faster than we could write. This was the point where I totally began to believe everything was in the hands of the Holy Spirit. As the administrator, it was my responsibility to contact each person. I asked them to pray to the Holy Spirit about being a facilitator and committing to the training. There was an overwhelming 100% positive response!
I began to really feel the fruits of the Holy Spirit with our first Discovering Christ retreat day. Tears flowed and some went to the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time in years. One gentleman, who was a cradle Catholic, made his first Reconciliation at that retreat. He commented he had always been able to find a "backdoor" in years past. Some participants were very quiet and introspective on that day and later disclosed that they were experiencing something, which at that point they were not able to verbalize. The reaction of people on the prayer teams was so rewarding spiritually and most of those who received prayer said it was the most powerful feeling ever experienced. This is a very new experience for us as Catholics!
As the first seven-week session was ending, we were entering the Triduum. Wow! What a surprise awaited us! Every service was filled. Holy Thursday Adoration was jammed packed every hour and midnight Benediction was filled beyond capacity in our chapel.
I would love to attribute the fact that we were running out of classroom space for our youth this year as a direct benefit of parents attending ChristLife, having a personal encounter with Christ, and wanting that same experience for their children. We have increased the number of Bible study groups. 30+ groups are studying the Gospel of Matthew as we worked our way through Lent and the Triduum, while waiting for Following Christ sessions to begin.
The special gifts and insights I received from the Holy Spirit were, first, to recognize the hunger for Christ in myself and others and, secondly, to truly see Christ in my brothers and sisters. I began to hear and feel the gentle urgings of the Holy Spirit in my heart, especially in my quiet time with the Lord. He leads me to those who are so willing to serve because they too have experienced a personal encounter with Jesus Christ through the ChristLife series. I know with peace in my heart that daily Christ walks hand in hand with me and that when I ask, the Holy Spirit leads me where He wants me to go and to do what He wants me to do.