OfferSTORY: The Need for Story in the New Evangelization

Bless us with your presence at The Offertory
Monday, January 27 from 7:00 - 8:00PM at St. Rita of Cascia Parish, Tacoma

Diana is a faith speaker and ministry consultant for Ruach Ministries and an artist creative. She received her BA History and Art History Minor at the University of Washington. At the end of college, she co-founded Mass Consumption Tacoma Catholic Young Adults, which celebrated its 11 year anniversary in January, and she went into youth ministry for several years. Currently she works at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Church as the Discipleship Communications Minister - her childhood home parish. She likes to sleep occasionally after drinking a hot cup of re-heated coffee.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Diana Jorda. I've lived in the Tacoma area for most of my life but also being a military brat, I was born in California and lived in Germany for a brief time. I grew up in Spanaway where my home parish is Our Lady Queen of Heaven. I was a youth and young adult minister for eight years, serving at St. Theresa Parish, Federal Way, and St. Anthony Parish in Renton. I also served the last couple of years in Communications -- everywhere from the Charismatic Renewal, St. Pius X Parish in Mountlake Terrace, and St. Nicholas Parish in Gig Harbor. Currently, I co-own a business called Ruach Ministries that serves parishes and the local community for any needs regarding consulting, training, and retreats. We have been in operation for a year now, and it has been very rewarding to serve the direct needs of the Church.

Who or what are influences in your faith journey?

Growing up, going to Mass and being taught the faith was a normal part of my family upbringing. I dutifully attended faith formation classes and was involved in youth ministry. My participation was something I quite enjoyed. We never missed a Sunday as was the expectation for the Jordas. All the while, I never remembered resisting or feeling reluctant because of the consistency, as well as the family activity that would always surround it.

Uniquely, I can remember my parents inviting different protestant scripture study leaders into our household at an early age. These encounters would generate a great love that I hold for the Word of God and empowered me as a youth to envision myself leading a study one day. I became very active in Church as a leader in youth group, a lector for the Mass, and attended as many events as I possibly could, including mission trips, hunger retreats, and a Steubenville Conference where I experienced Eucharistic Adoration for the first time with 25,000 youth. I vividly remember that intense moment in my faith described by the scripture, "Wherever two or more are gathered in my Name, there I am in their midst," with the additional, "wherever 25,000 youth are gathered in my Name, there I am IN YOUR FACE."

I also had a lot of faith influences in devout adults I witnessed, including those of my Filipino culture and family heritage. I can remember so early in life praying the rosary with the "Titas" (aunties) and eating lumpia later in the evening. The everyday lives of my beloved family and mentors compelled me in the story of faith with their own personal witness. In this, I strongly associated faith with the familial lens which was undoubtedly comforting and inspiring.

Name a time that was challenging in your faith.

It may appear as though my upbringing was very sound, yet, not all was viewed with rose-colored glasses. Early in my childhood, I experienced bits and pieces of trauma that to a sensitive child would translate the world to be a scary and untrustworthy place. Not only would the faith teach me the steadfast principles of virtue, but it would also teach me to use it as a means of hiding my fears of abandonment. I would participate in a performance-based manner to hide the self-hatred I harbored deep within. I lived with this fractured faith well into my adolescence -- one of self-preserving obligation, spliced with an authentic desire to experience God's love.

I graduated from the University of Washington with a bachelor’s in history, but college was a lonely time. Not having the safety of family and community in proximity, I struggled with identity issues amid a hostile anti-religious environment disguised under the name of academia. But by the grace of God, what was a time of extreme temptation to leave the Church, became a time of deepening my faith via the spiritual desert and nourished by living a sacramental life. I attended daily Mass, voraciously read scripture and spiritual works. I became an avid listener to Catholic radio tuning into everywhere from apologetic segments to nuns angelically chanting the rosary. With God answering my heart in such a profound way, I was led to reengage the call to gather local young adults back home to join in community and scripture study together. It was my way of giving back what love was given me during those experiences of conversion, by way of fostering spiritual family for others. This became the birth of Mass Consumption Tacoma Catholic Young Adult Ministry that has existed for just about 11 years. Through this, I have come to know the experience of Eucharistic community and the spiritual family that makes the faith truly come alive.

What aspects of the Catholic Faith have helped you most to connect with your own personal story?

I love the ancient lineage aspect that includes apostolic succession and salvation history, a gradual unfolding of humanity that characterizes the faith we know presently. I love the communion of saints, a cloud of witnesses, that amasses into the oneness of God's communal reality of the Trinity. That despite the ever-spanning creation of God's diversity of souls, we are made to be as one mind and spirit. In this contemplation, I can know myself as uniquely made, but divinely connected in the shared humanity of others -- in the context of relationship. I find it exquisite and grounding.

In the symbolism provided by the offertory portion of the Mass, we see ourselves giving the work of our hands over to God to be transformed on the altar of His sacrifice.

What is your life's work as a gift of self for God and His people?

The work of my life has been to foster holy friendship and to minister to youth and young adults. As an artist, I desire to use my creativity to communicate with various audiences the language of the Transcendentals: Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. I hope to be present to the people God places in my life and to accompany them with the raw, honest, and authentic account of my own personal witness and use of my gifts.

+ Let us pray together for Diana and join in her prayers to our God.