US Bishops foster Eucharistic devotion with new document

2021.09.10 Meditazione di don Ferenc Janka sul vengalo di domenica "Chi sono io?"
The Bishops of the United States vote to approve a document entitled “The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church”, and link it to a pastoral plan for Eucharistic renewal.

By Devin Watkins

US Bishops are calling on American Catholics to “enter more deeply by faith and love” into the Mystery of Mysteries, the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

Meeting for the Fall General Assembly of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the Bishops on Wednesday approved a document dedicated to the Eucharist with a secret electronic vote of 222 in favor and 8 against, with 3 abstentions – an overwhelming consensus of over 95%.

Entitled “The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church,” the document is divided into two sections: “Christ’s gift of Himself in the Eucharist and our response to that gift.”

According to USCCB president Archbishop José Gómez, the document is closely linked to a separate initiative to promote Eucharistic renewal, including plans for a National Eucharistic Congress in the summer of 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Returning to the Table of the Lord

The Eucharistic document seeks to remind Catholics of Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist and that God is generous in giving His grace “if we, by His grace, humbly ask Him to give us what we need.”

“The Lord is with us in the Eucharistic Mystery celebrated in our parishes and missions, in our beautiful cathedrals and in our poorest chapels,” it reads.

The Covid-19 pandemic has discouraged some people from participating in the Mass in-person, while others have felt their desire to adore Christ in the Eucharist strengthened. The document urges Catholics to never forget Jesus’ words that “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you do not have life within you” (Jn 6:53).


Hardest Decision a Leader Makes – Letting People Go

By November 18, 2021

Perhaps the hardest decision a leader makes is when to release someone from employment. I’ve only known a few callous people who weren’t extremely burdened by having to fire someone. Making any kind of employment decision comes with the sobering reality, regardless of what the person did wrong, that the decision will likely impact others who are many times innocent.

In working with pastors this issue is one of the hardest they face. The church is often notorious for delaying these type decisions – often in the name of grace. (I’m always equally concerned about being good stewards of the Kingdom investment people make in the church.)

And it’s an issue few seem to want to talk about. Yet it’s one we all struggle with personally.

I’ve heard great leaders say repeatedly that we should “hire slow” and “fire fast”. I agree, but that’s much easier to say than it is to do. In fact, it’s painful to follow this principle. The opposite seems more appealing. Most of us would rather rush someone in the door and then be very slow to get rid of them even when we know it’s needed.

Sometimes the decision is made for us. Or at least is made clearer.

  • If someone is caught stealing.
  • Someone that blatantly (and continually) defies authority.
  • If someone is abusive to other team members.

Those aren’t easy situations either, and due process, fairness, and grace should still play a part, but sometimes people make it easier for us to clarify what needs to happen. (I’m not saying termination is always the case. The offense is made clearer though.)

Often the hardest decision for me as a leader, but one I’ve had to make numerous times, is when I have to release someone for less obvious offenses. They aren’t clear-cut, black and white issues.

Years ago, I had someone on my team who was a tremendous producer. One of our best. He could sell anything. Taking a strictly bottom line approach he made the company money. But it was some of the external, not as easy to define aspects of his employment that made him a poor fit for the team. He was disrespectful, never attended meetings, bad-mouthed the company, etc.

It was hard to lose a top performer, but there were larger issues at stake. I had to make a hard decision.

There are multiple situations where a hard decision needs to be made, but it is from a seemingly gray area. It isn’t always clear when to make the decision. Yet, many times in my experience we know something needs to be done, but we simply haven’t made the decision.

A few examples of the hardest decision I have personally had to make as a leader:

The person has lost credibility with the team.

This could be with peers, a team he or she leads, or with volunteers. At this point  the energy trying to repair their relationships would be too overwhelming. Everyone else is wondering why you haven’t moved sooner to make a hard decision. Sometimes it’s best for everyone if we simply start with a clean slate.

The person refuses to support the overall vision.

They may have the skills to be outstanding, but their attitude causes them to serve as more of a cancer to the team than an asset.

The person’s heart has “left the building”.

They are ready to move on to something else, so they no longer give their full heart to the job. And everyone already knows it. It could be bringing down the morale and work ethic of the rest of the team. It could just be that the best is not being achieved anymore. Best is never achieved without a heart for the work.

The person’s actions or reputation discredits everything the mission claims to be.

Sometimes the integrity of the organization is at stake. Sadly, I’ve seen this with people who go through personal life changes, such as having an affair. Even if it happened totally outside their work life, they bring their drama to work. Everyone goes through bad seasons — whether self-produced or of no personal cause, and grace should be applied generously, but a healthy team can’t live in high periods of drama for long.

Frankly, and sadly, some people simply never recover. They continue making bad decisions, or their heart never returns to the job they were once doing. It may even be that they need a change forced upon them before they can move forward again.

Again, hard decisions. Not always easy to define. Not clean and simple.

This doesn’t mean you fire in each of these scenarios. No two situations are alike. If this post seems harsh you haven’t worked with me. I’m almost always on the side of grace. But it does mean red flags are drawn. And, as a good leader, you don’t ignore the situation or pretend it doesn’t exist. You have to do something or nothing will ever change — and will likely get worse.

Making the right decision protects the organization, the teams involved, and, often, the ability of the team to respect your leadership. At times, people are wondering why you’ve waited so long to do something.

If you find yourself in one of these situations:

  • Bathe it in prayer.
  • Seek wise counsel, whether that’s in the church or outside the church. (My wife is always one of these.)
  • I almost always consult with an attorney or employment expert.
  • Ask confidential advisors – not many – but people you know are trustworthy and wiser or more experienced than you in these situations.

Never make these type decisions alone.

Finally, be open to the hard truth that the problem could be your leadership. That’s probably another post.

The psychology behind quiet, introverted people

Levels of introversion/extroversion can be explained by a psychological theory called the Arousal Theory. This theory states that humans have preset levels of arousal in their brains, called the natural level of arousal. However, for some people, their natural level of arousal is too high or too low, which motivates them to seek their optimal level of arousal. Some people’s natural level of arousal is too high, which motivates them to seek calmer, more relaxed activities to lower their brain arousal to an optimal level, whereas some people’s natural level of arousal is low, motivating them to seek out busy, adventurous activities to increase their brain arousal to an optimal level.

How does this relate to introverts and extroverts?

Introverts’ natural level of brain arousal is already high, so they seek out calm activities to lower it to an optimal level. These activities usually involve staying inside and being alone or around few people. Introverts’ optimal level of arousal is LOWER than their natural level of arousal, which is why they stay calm/quiet in an attempt to lower the natural level.

Extorverts’ natural level of brain arousal is low, which is why they seek out adventure and high social interaction to raise it. Extroverts’ optimal level of arousal is HIGHER than their natural level.

In a nutshell, levels of natural brain arousal in people is the explanation for introversion and extroversion.

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