Editor’s Note: My Faith and Values Word (hence FAV) is a weekly feature out each Friday showcasing what area clergy people are reading and how those books influence their thoughts on societal or congregational issues.
By SAMANTHA FREDA
Father John McGee has been serving the Catholic church for more than 30 years, teaching in both Philadelphia and Virginia as well as spending time at Holy Infant Catholic Church in Durham. Three years ago, he became the priest of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church on Carolina Beach Road, a parish served by the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales.
I met with Father John as well as their Director of Liturgy and Music, Ginny Bovelsky and Faith Formation director Lorraine Fetzer. ICC has more than 54 ministries, including Lent activities for this season such as study groups and weekly reflection sessions. The congregation also supports fundraisers and welcoming events, as well as the traditional programs like confirmation and RCIA (Rite of Catholic Initiation for Adults).
A book recently recommended to Father John has helped him improve the direction of these ministries. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops publishes “Called & Gifted For the Third Millennium.” It reflects on the development of lay vocation in the church or church works by non-ordained Catholics. The book identifies challenges these evolving lay groups encounter and offers questions and strategies to initiate necessary change.
Father John is utilizing this guide to train people in establishing more effective ministries, procuring the kind of organization that will result in stronger leaders. ICC has hosted a series of workshops based on the book to offer direction and to help affirm people’s personal gifts.
Father John hopes to bring people to a greater understanding of their own spirituality. He also wants to promote the sentiment that these ministries are not a chore but something done with passion and focus.
Immaculate Conception Catholic Church
6550 Carolina Beach Road
Approximate congregation size: 2,700 people or 1,151 households