February Reflection from CHAD LUCERO

Parish: Pilgrim Home - What does it mean to live Parish Life?

Chad is cradle Catholic from Lacey and graduated from the University of Washington. Currently, he is the youth minister at St. Columban Church in Yelm and serves in the US Military Reserve Army National Guard. Find Chad cruising along the I-5 with an impressive list of podcast subscriptions (i.e., learning about stained glass Catholic art) and geo-locating his next destination, like the next bible study where he astutely takes notes in his bullet journal.

Community is about being part of something bigger than yourself and sharing your gifts with others.

Together in the second edition of The Offertory, our speaker Gus Labayen shared about his experience being rooted in community. Whether it’s being a music minister for a group of religious sisters or for a large suburban church, Gus has given it all and shared his kindness and talents with many. There is no doubt that he is part of things larger than himself.

How do we plug into a community?

In addition to being a talented musician, Gus is also a Catholic Worker, a member of the movement started by Dorothy Day and Peter Morin that directly serves the poor and marginalized in our society. With many Catholic Worker houses around the country, Gus found his home serving the people at the Guadalupe House in Tacoma.

He shared with us about visiting another Catholic Worker community and how simple it was to immediately be put to work to prepare meals for a dinner service. As a visiting Catholic Worker volunteer, he explained that although he was unfamiliar with the facility and how they did things, what resonated was the same love for service and that Christ could be found in everyone that wanted a meal. He also talked about how to be more faithfully present and invited us to share. After some discussion we came up with three ways to help us center into the present moment: journaling, praying a meditative prayer, and taking slow deep breaths. By doing these things we become more attentive to others' hopes and needs. We can better discern which of our God-given gifts can be manifested to become a grace for others as we build solidarity with one another.

Ultimately, none of this would be possible without having an attitude to gratitude. It is God who connects us together, gives us families, friends, and neighbors. To close the night, we were all invited to share what we were grateful for in relation to our community (our Church or faith community), in relation to our neighborhood, and in relation to God’s story (the big picture, salvation).

One of the takeaways I took from the talk was that the method we connect with others in our communities involves first getting to know ourselves better by discerning our gifts and by knowing our reasons for serving. I know that sounds a bit weird, but it’s something that I’ve been thinking about for a while, and Gus’s presentation helped tremendously in building my understanding. All in all, we are part of the greater community of God, no matter what.​