Work + Love = Holiness! – Workshop Guide

Tuesday, 05 March 2013
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In this time of the New Evangelization, we are all called to renew our commitment to walking with Christ the path of holiness and to sharing His Good News with others. This workshop can help in our reflection on this subject. The workshop can be hosted as a parish-based event. As “domestic churches”, couples and families might also choose to host the workshop in their own homes — for themselves or with groups of friends — in order to reflect on the greatness of ordinary life.

A. Opening greeting from moderator:

The moderator extends a few words of welcome to those gathered, summarizing the objectives of the workshop.

B. Invocation of the Holy Spirit:

The moderator invites those gathered to join in the following, well known, prayer:

Come Holy Spirit

All:                  Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.

Moderator:     Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created.

All:                  And You shall renew the face of the earth.

Moderator:    Let us pray.

All:                  O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolation. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

C. Reading from the Word of God:

Colossians 3: 23-24

D. Small groups discussion:

The moderator breaks the gathering into small groups — ideally including no more than six individuals. Each group is assigned a limited number of questions — found on the last page of the brochure. A photocopy of the last page of the brochure is provided to each participant. Each group nominates a spokesperson/secretary who will report to the larger group at the completion of the exercise (45 minutes). 

E. Sharing with large group:

A spokesperson from each of the small groups is invited to report the insights of his or her group relative to each question. Contributions to the larger group should be limited to one main insight per question considered (45 minutes).

F. Closing thanks and optional prayer:

The moderator thanks the participants for their presence and their insights and — optionally —closes by inviting all gathered to join in praying the Lord’s Prayer.

G. Parish bulletin:

A summary of the main insights emerging from the workshop can be published in the parish bulletin.

Suggested supplementary readings:

  • Vocation and Mission of the Laity (Christifideles Laici) (Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation of Pope John Paul II) (see especially paragraphs 3, 5, 7, 8, 17 and 43)
  • Apostolicam Actuositatem (Vatican II Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity)
  • Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church (see especially Chapter Six, “Human Work”)
  • The Catechism of the Catholic Church (see especially paragraphs 2427-2428)

For personal prayer and meditation:

  • Genesis 3:19
  • 1 Corinthians 10:31
  • Colossians 3:23

With a view to making this workshop as fruitful as possible, copies of the brochure should be made available one or two weeks in advance of the event (possibly following Sunday masses). If the brochure is not distributed in advance, copies should be made available to participants following the completion of the workshop. To order, contact the Catholic Organization for Life and Family: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (613) 241-9461, extension 161. Suggested donation:  40 cents per copy.

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Workshop Questions

  1. It has been said that cemeteries are full of indispensable people. What place does work occupy in my life? Do I live to work or do I work to live?
  2. There is a world of difference between succeeding in life and making a success for your life. Have I thought about this before? How can I explain this idea to my children?
  3. Do I understand that my ordinary life, including my work life, can be the place of an extraordinary encounter with God? Do I talk to God about my troubles, my joys, my dreams, my challenges? When?
  4. The family-work balance is a huge challenge for many parents. How can we create a respectful balance for us as a couple and for the needs of our children?
  5. As an employer, do I treat my employees justly? Do I respect their family life? As an employee, do I act justly towards my employer?
  6. In the prayer that Jesus taught us, we pray each day: “Our Father, who art in heaven ... your will be done.” How can I know God’s will? Am I focused on my own desires or on God’s?
  7. Am I aware that I need to avoid any divorce between my Christian beliefs and my professional work? How can I remain true to my faith in Jesus Christ when making professional choices and decisions?
  8. During this time of the New Evangelization, these words from the Canticle of Zechariah (Lk 1:76) speak to us: “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways.” How can I prepare the way of the Lord in the hearts of my colleagues, friends and family members?
  9. What do I do to overcome the fear that threatens to paralyze me when the moment comes to speak about God during my regular and spontaneous activities each day? What kind of relationship do I have with Jesus Christ? Do I meet him in his Word – the Gospel – and in the Eucharist, which is the source and summit of the Christian Life?
  10. Time is a treasure! How can we help our children understand that the time they are given to serve God and the people God places on their life’s path are precious?
  11. How can we guide and encourage our children in their studies and career choices? How can we lead them to place their God-given talents at the service of their fellow citizens? How can we develop in them a sense of responsibility, punctuality, order, perseverance, patience, care for others, etc? Do they understand that their skills in the job or profession they choose will allow them to become more effective partners with Christ in transforming the world with him?
  12. The story of creation ends by reminding us that “on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day ... God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it” 
  13. (Gen 2:2-3). Is Sunday a special time for us to thank God for all his gifts by going to Mass, to relax as a couple and as a family, to visit friends or people who are sick, and to replenish our energy? Why?
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