DANIEL ISLAND—St. Clare of Assisi was invited to participate in a program that they believe will be life-changing for those attending, and for the parish itself.
The invitation is from Parish Catalyst for Father Gregory West and his pastoral team to join a learning community that “challenges some of the best minds in parish ministry to think beyond their current reality, learn from one another, and impact the way parish is experienced in the Church today,” according to the ministry.
St. Clare of Assisi is one of only 50 parishes chosen in the United States and Canada, and the only one in South Carolina, said Father West. He and his team — Anne Medio, Sarah Viancourt and Fernando Cartagena — will travel to Los Angeles four times over the next 18 months, with the first meeting coming up on April 24-27.
Father West said the rapid growth and successful programs of the new parish are part of the reason they were selected.
The parish turns three on April 20, just before the group leaves for their adventure, and so far they have registered over 2,000 members (700+ households), created 25+ ministries, raised $9.5 million in pledges and cash, hired architects for the new church, attracted 120+ to youth ministry and 200+ in children’s faith formation, and hired a parish staff of six.
“What we have done in three years is blindingly fast,” the priest said. “Our goal is to open a church in early 2020-21 with no debt.”
Anne Medio, a member of the parish pastoral council, said the sky is the limit on what they get from the learning communities, in terms of ideas, inspiration, and so much more.
“I anticipate that the Holy Spirit is going to be incredibly active and incredibly strong with all these parishes in attendance,” she said, adding that it will be such an uplifting experience it will be life-changing.
Medio and her husband Franklin moved to the area in 1997 and said the faith community on Daniel Island was strong from the beginning. She said it is an awesome responsibility to be chosen by Parish Catalyst, and their challenge now is to bring back inspiration for the rest of St. Clare of Assisi.
The decision to commit to the 18-month process was not taken lightly.
“We had to pray about it and discern that we thought this was something that would be of great value to the parish,” Father West said.
The parish is looking forward to their team interacting, teaching, and learning from other parishes who are spirited in their growth and think outside the box.
“It’s important that we exemplify all that we are and want to be … and to help other parishes as a benefit,” Medio said.