Pastoral creativity is an intentional process that begins with prayer and reflection guiding you to identify a community of concern. Listening with compassion to the members of that community leads you to ponder what you learn in light of the Catholic imagination. The fruits of these movements are put into action through creative pastoral response to the needs you encounter.
As demonstrated in the previous installment of this series, the first movement in exercising pastoral creativity is adopting a posture of prayer and gratitude. This cultivates an interior space for reflecting on your own gifts and identifying the community that God calls to your attention to serve. Grounded in gratitude for all that God has given you and all you are able to offer back in love, the next movement is turning to listen to those people whom God has called you to serve.
With the uncertainty and pain of the coronavirus pandemic compounded by the injustice, suffering, and division rampant in the world today, the need for compassionate outreach and pastoral creativity is ever more apparent. Entering into an intentional process of pastoral creativity begins with a commitment to engage in movements of prayer, reflection, and attending to others that can open your heart to the ways God works within and through you.
At the heart of Notre Dame Vision is the mission to empower young people to recognize grace at work in their lives and respond to God’s call by offering their gifts in service to the needs of the world. For the past eighteen years, this mission has been carried out each summer through four week-long conferences for high school students and parallel conferences for campus and youth ministers.
During the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic, I strive to live with intentionality and creativity. At times, I have found myself struggling with a fear of the unknown that paralyzes me as I try to contemplate the many possibilities for what the future may hold. Ultimately, I trust in God as the One who created me out of love, who sent his Son into the world to die for me and to draw me into the life of the Trinity, and who sent the Holy Spirit to guide me. Yet, in the moments when my wonder turns to fear—about the health of those I love, what the fall semester will look like, or when I might next see and hug my family living out-of-state—I cling to a need for certainty and a desire to control.