LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. — Kenneth Paulli, OFM, chief of staff and associate professor of education at Siena College here, gave the keynote address and two workshops at the Diocese of Fall River’s Annual Ministry Convention in Mansfield, Mass., on Nov. 7.
Speaking on “Must You Wash My Feet? Conversations Around the Eucharistic Table,” Kenneth’s keynote supported the convention theme of “Moments of Grace: Our Sacramental Gift.”
Kenneth, known in church communities for his workshops and retreats, said he spoke to approximately 400 priests and lay members of all types of ministries.
“I always think it’s good for Holy Name friars to get out and about and identify ourselves in this way as Franciscans,” he said. “Doing this kind of work is enriching and life-giving. It’s always amazing to me, given the size of our Province, that people say, ‘I know the Holy Name friars.’”
Focusing on sacramental life, Kenneth used the Gospel of John and Pope John Paul II’s Mane Nobiscum Domine to make his points. “The Gospel of John’s retelling of the Last Supper’s washing of feet inspires us to gather around the table, break bread and drink from one cup,” he said. “Eucharistic liturgy leads us to lives of justice.”
Mane Nobiscum Domine gives the meaning of the Eucharist, he added, to be washers of feet.
In addition to giving the keynote speech, Kenneth led two workshops. The morning workshop was titled “Context, Context, Context: The Diocese of Fall River’s Eucharistic Church and Missionary Church.”
This hands-on workshop, he said, gathered participants into groups to evaluate the mission statements from diocesan ministries to see if they clearly defined the mission.
To prepare, Kenneth searched the Web sites of several ministries for mission statements. The groups discussed whether the statements articulated the work of the Catholic Church in service to others.
Many were too generic, said Kenneth, and could be used for any Christian community. Particularly poor ones, he added, made no mention of Eucharist or justice.
One particularly good mission statement came from St. Pius X Church in South Yarmouth, Mass.: “The St. Pius Tenth Parish Family, composed of those who have accepted the invitation to follow Our Lord, Jesus Christ, is a Roman Catholic faith-filled community. The faithful members of the Eucharistic community, in union with the universal Church, admit to a genuine responsibility to welcome, evangelize, witness and serve others in Christ’s name.”
Kenneth’s afternoon workshop, “Keeping It Practical: Untackling the Keynote Address,” raised questions brought up in the keynote.
He will speak next year during Lent at a church in Lake Charles, La.
— Wendy Healy, a freelance writer in Danbury, Conn., is a frequent contributor to HNP Today.