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Creating a stronger sense of community, impacting commitment towards initiatives and projects

March 15, 2020 | posted by Archdiocese of San Antonio

Topics: Archbishop, In the Press, Breaking News

Creating a stronger sense of community, impacting commitment towards initiatives and projects

A volunteer appreciation dinner for all who have offered service at Department of Pastoral Ministries events and gatherings throughout the year was held at St. Luke’s Church February 10, and attendees were lauded by Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, for their invaluable collaboration in helping further the Kingdom of God in the local Church.

He explained that the word “accompaniment” is one the archdiocese has been focusing on as a priority for several months now. “We have done this by way of following the lead of our Holy Father, Pope Francis, who has called us to accompany others in their journey of life, and in this process, to help them find Jesus in their midst,” the archbishop. “The work of accompaniment is summed up by Jesus in the Gospel of Mark when he tells his disciples ‘anyone who wants to be first among you must be the last, and the servant of all.’”

Archbishop Gustavo praised the volunteers for giving of their time and skills to accompany others, often in difficult circumstances. “I know you don’t do this for recognition. You do this as a matter of the heart -- of your heart touching the heart of the Lord, who then moves you as an instrument of His grace,” the Missionary of the Holy Spirit emphasized. “None of you has come here tonight, nor shown up tirelessly at your ministry or service day in and day out, for the purpose of recognition. But you do so because your heart is open, and this is good.”

The San Antonio prelate said the wanted to take the opportunity at the gathering to express his gratitude to the volunteers. “In the name of the Lord who has called you, and in the name of the poor or needy whom you serve, I want to say thank you! You give meaning to the word, accompaniment, by your very presence! You are the Church, alive, and carrying forth the mission Jesus has given to us,” he stressed. “It is not a burden. It is a gift! For, surely, we are the ones who are blessed by our encounter with others, especially the poor!

Pope Francis refers to accompaniment as an art, because it involves a deep listening to the other person -- a willingness to open one’s self to the reality of the other.

Among the ministries and services from the Department of Pastoral Ministry and the archdiocesan Pastoral Center represented at the gathering were:

▪ Institute for Lay Ecclesial Ministry and Service

▪ Criminal Justice Ministry

▪ Music Ministry

▪ Campus Ministry

▪ Hospital Ministry

▪ Young Adult Ministry

▪ Family Life Ministry

▪ Pastoral Ministry Ambassadors

▪ Priests celebrating televised Mass and priests confessors

▪ Priests involved in missionary work connected with Pastoral Ministries

“I am so deeply grateful to each of you for pouring out your time and your hearts for the good of others,” the archbishop concluded. “I pray that as you accompany others, Christ also will accompany you, so that you may know the depth of His love, compassion, and grace for you.”

The evening had as its theme, “Accompanying through selflessness in service.” The gathering began with the praying of vespers, and speakers at the event, in addition to Archbishop Gustavo, included Auxiliary Bishop Michael Boulette; Bishop Emeritus Michael Pfeifer, OMI; Joan Martinez, director of the Department of Pastoral Ministries. Testimonies were also given by four volunteers.