Called and Gifted has enriched my life


By Kim McCool

“Whether extraordinary or simple and humble, charisms are graces of the Holy Spirit which directly or indirectly benefit the Church, ordered as they are to her building up, to the good of men, and to the needs of the world” (Cate­chism, 799).


God calls each of us for a unique purpose. God calls us to use the unique gifts he gave us at baptism and confirmation to be in­struments of his love for others. When I signed up for the Called and Gifted program, I had a preconceived idea of my charisms but — holy smokes! — I wasn’t prepared for the path of self-discovery I was about to embark on or the spiritual journey ahead of me. I had preconceived ideas about my own gifts but the Holy Spirit knew better.

Everyone will benefit from Called and Gifted. Facilitators Maureen Conrad and Jim Connell guide you through the workshop, which lays the groundwork for your discernment. You have a one-hour interview with a trained volunteer to reflect on your gifts. The workshop and interview prepare you for the real work: experimenting with your charisms.


The process of discerning my charisms led me on a personal, insightful and sacred exploration. I found myself immersed deeper in prayer as I asked the Holy Spirit to show me what he wanted me to do. I prayed for the Holy Spirit’s grace to open my ears so I could listen and my mind so I could understand. I asked that my heart would embrace his words. I kept asking, how could I use my spiritual gifts for his purpose here on earth? What need wasn’t being filled? I earnestly wanted him to show me gaps that I could fill. I knew that doing his will and finding my purpose in this life would require me to listen to his answers to those questions and follow his direction.

I spent weeks asking the Lord to guide me. I prayed and prayed some more. One Saturday afternoon the words hit me like lightening: a pet ministry. Questions came to my mind: Did other Catholic parishes have such ministries? How could a pet ministry help others? Where did my spiritual gifts, my charisms, fit into this vision? The answers were immediately clear.

My participation in Called and Gifted has enriched my life — and others — in countless ways. The pet ministry it inspired has touched so many lives, those with two legs and those with four. Our pets have a direct connection to our hearts. While I continue to work to develop my charisms as I grow this ministry within and outside our parish community, I truly feel the Holy Spirit moving. It’s such a blessing! I pray that my story will lead all who read this to experience the same joy.

(Kim McCool is a member of St. John Vianney Parish in Bettendorf.)

Sessions start Sept. 12

A Called and Gifted program begins Sept. 12 and concludes Dec. 5 at St. John Vianney Parish in Bettendorf. Lay leaders trained by the Catherine of Sienna Institute will lead the nine sessions from 6:30-9 p.m. Sept. 12, 19, 26; Oct. 3, 10 and 24; Nov. 7 and 21; and Dec. 5. Cost is $50. Make checks payable to Blessed Trinity Prayer Group and mail to Maureen Conrad, 5121 North Richmond Circle, Bettendorf, IA 52722. For more information, contact Conrad at (563) 940-5921.

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