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During the month of October, Pope Francis is asking for our prayers for a specific intention–the laity’s mission in the Church. “We pray that by the virtue of baptism, the laity, especially women, may participate more in areas of responsibility in the Church.” By the sacrament of baptism, we are called to some form of ministry.

As Lumen Gentium reminds us, all people of the church, not just the priests and religious sisters and brothers, but all of us, make up the Church. There are various ways you can share in the Church’s ministry in your family, parish and community. Some of us are called to hold professional positions within the Church as lay ecclesial ministers. Others give their time and talent as sacristans, lectors, choir members, parish council members, finance committee members (the list goes on and on). We all share in the responsibility of participating in the Church’s ministry.

We each have God-given gifts and talents. Some are keenly aware of these gifts and talents, while others are discovering them in new ways. If you are unsure of yours, consider reading a book likeLiving Your Strengths” and taking its personality-assessing quiz, or asking those close to you what natural talents they see in you. Take those to prayer and ask God to help you use the gifts he has placed within you. We can respond to these gifts by giving of ourselves. Each of us can build up and utilize our talents to serve in our parish. In return, we can grow in faith through our participation in the ministries of the Church.

By sharing our talents with our faith communities, we can foster a sense of belonging and meaning which is personally life-giving. Consider the following examples of the many talents that could be utilized in our parishes. Are you good at analyzing details, developing plans or observing trends and tendencies? Do you naturally empathize with people, relate with those around you or easily make connections between different things? Can you clearly communicate complex or important information, bring a story to life through performance or offer encouragement and praise to someone sharing their gifts and talents? Are you good at strategizing or goal-setting, leading others in a project or managing resources and time? 

Once we have an idea of our gifts and talents, we can prayerfully discern how best to use them in our parishes and communities. It may be in a ministry or role that already exists at the parish or it may mean thinking outside of the box, looking at new and creative ways to serve. This might look like:

  • Serving the poor and helping those who are in need.
  • Being intentional about spending quality time in prayer. 
  • Utilizing your talents in specific ministries in the church by accompanying, teaching or leading young people through adolescence, young adulthood and all age groups throughout various life stages.
  • Serving during liturgy or on councils and commissions.
  • Strengthening our ability to share the Good News with those we meet.

We have been graced with special gifts from the Holy Spirit to be living examples of Gospel teaching in our everyday lives to minister to and with others. Each of us plays a role in bringing our Church to life! We can make the life of the parish and broader communities better with our personal involvement.

We are created and called to be a light to the world in our own unique ways. Inspired by the Holy Father’s intention for the month of October, let each of us pray and be mindful of these words attributed to St. Teresa of Ávila:

Christ has no body but yours,

No hands, no feet on earth but yours,

Yours are the eyes with which he looks

Compassion on this world,

Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,

Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.

Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,

Yours are the eyes, you are his body.

Christ has no body now but yours,

No hands, no feet on earth but yours,

Yours are the eyes with which he looks

compassion on this world.

Christ has no body now on earth but yours.