The Catholic Church across Yorkshire's historic West Riding since 1878

The Catholic Church across Yorkshire's historic West Riding since 1878

Called and Gifted!

In our occasional series, our Clergy Correspondent, ‘View from the Valley’ assures all the lay faithful about how we can ALL use our gifts and charisms to share in the Church’s Mission – and, to paraphrase Doctor of the Church St Catherine of Siena ‘Be who we were meant to be …’

As we approach the 2025 Jubilee of Hope, we may well ask, ‘Is there hope for the Church?’  Both the recent Clergy Conference, with Mgr John Armitage heralding the ‘Third Spring’, and the Catholic Parish Summit in Harrogate would suggest the answer is a resounding ‘Yes!’

My ‘view from the valley’ might qualify the reply.  ‘Yes, but only if we unpack, understand and undertake one of the best-kept secrets of the Second Vatican Council’.

In the midst of all the wonderful insights that came from that Council we find the concept of the ‘Apostolate of the Laity’.  Lay people are not only encouraged, but expected, to share in the mission of the Church, working collaboratively with the hierarchy, and under their guidance.

Countless Vatican documents since the Council have echoed this theme, speaking of the dignity that all the baptised share in the Ministries of Christ the Prophet, Priest and King.  They encourage the laity to discover and discern their gifts, ministries and vocations, and they mandate the clergy to be active in sharing this discernment, nurturing and governing these gifts.

Has this vision been realised?  There are indeed more opportunities for lay people to be involved in the life of the Church, but all too often this has been limited to ‘doing things at Mass’.  Lay liturgical involvement is indeed good to see, but is this what the Council meant by ‘sharing in the Church’s mission’?

A growing number of people in our diocese have been engaging with the ‘Called and Gifted Process’.  Developed by the Catholic evangelist Sherry Weddell and the Catherine of Siena Institute, this process assists lay and ordained members of the Church to learn about ‘charisms’ – spiritual gifts – and to discern those at work in their own lives.  The aim of the process is to help us ‘Be who we were meant to be’ – to use the memorable words of St Catherine herself.

Priests and laity can testify to the liberating effect of discerning these gifts, and more than one parish can demonstrate the way in which the joint use of charisms can lead to renewal and growth.  Maintenance is turning into Mission, and wider communities are being touched by Christ.

Several groups and parishes in our own Diocese are currently on the ‘Called and Gifted’ journey, or just about to begin it.  They are being assisted by a small group of facilitators trained by the Catherine of Siena Institute, with the support of Bishop Marcus.

These facilitators realise that there may well be people who would love to engage, but are not part of one of these groups – and for this reason they have opened up a number of places for people to take part online, initially with self-supported study, but later as part of a larger online group.

Called and Gifted is not the only process available, but in my ‘view from the valley’ it’s the best!

St Catherine of Siena: ‘Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire!’


If YOU are interested in participating in a ‘Called and Gifted’ group – either in person or online – please get in touch with the Diocesan contact, Fr Michael Hall via