IMPERIAL – The Grant Deanery fall catechists’ in-service gathering Nov. 14 focused on the Communion of Saints and one’s personal Call to Holiness as outlined in Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation: Gaudete et Exsultate.
Catechists from the nine parishes in the deanery assembled at St. Patrick Parish Hall in Imperial. A meal provided by the deanery and local Altar Society members provided time in fellowship. Each of the four deanery pastors provided a personal witness on the life of one of their favorite saints and apostolic activities including reflection questions or comments for the catechists to reflect upon and discuss.
Father Matthew Eickhoff, dean of the Grant Deanery and pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Benkelman and St. Joseph in Stratton, presented St. Therese of Lisieux, “The Little Flower.” He asked how her childhood experiences helped to form her spirituality as an adult.
Father Thomas Bush is pastor of Mother of Sorrows Parish in Grant, Resurrection in Elsie and St. Mary in Wallace. He spoke about St. Anthony Mary Claret, expressing that saint’s personal recognition of the gift of salvation and realization that one is to “share the stewardship of God’s grace… humbly.”
Father Lothar Gilde, pastor of St. Patrick in Imperial, spoke about St. Athanasius of Alexandria. He pointed out to the group the contemporary challenges of St. Athanasius and how bravely and persistently he remained steadfast in the apostolic doctrine of Jesus’ nature against all odds, thus preserving the Catholic identity and heritage.
Father Christopher Miller is pastor of St. James Church in Trenton, Holy Family in Palisade and St. John in Wauneta. He took up a more modern saint to showcase, St. Josemaria Escriva, who was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2002. St. Josemaria Escriva’s mission was to awaken within the laity their baptismal call to personal holiness in daily life.
Sister Rochelle Kerkhof of the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity facilitated the training as the Grant Deanery coordinator of youth ministry.
Chapter 1 of the Apostolic Exhortation, Gaudete Exsultate, was highlighted and distributed to each catechist for their own personal review and prayerful study at their leisure.
The evening program concluded with the “Litany of the Saints” led by Father Eickhoff.