Directing Our Schedules

coffee and schedule - calendar book

How do you feel when you look at your schedule? Do you see multiple activities of your family and faith formation world overlapping? Do you wonder: How can I fit another parents’ gathering into this cascade of children sessions, catechist trainings, paperwork, parish council meetings, lesson planning, sacramental preparation, and more?

Let me suggest that since we direct our programs, we also need to direct our schedules. Each time we look into our datebooks, we notice how full they have become, but do we attempt to rearrange or adjust the schedule for our own health and well-being? I encourage you to try this one simple recommendation: use a week- or a month-at-a-glance calendar so you see EVERYTHING that is happening. It prevents an overload.

I can hear some of you saying, “Yes, but the pastor needs… Yes, but what about…?” Our response reflects our dedication to our ministry and our need to be available for all. Yes, but leads only to exhaustion and frustration. Then we will hear ourselves saying, “I really need another hour, day, or week to catch up; I don’t even have the time to sit in prayer!”

STOP—THINK—PRAY

Pausing even a moment to take a deep breath opens my mind to reflect on how my priorities have shifted. In those pauses I run to our greatest teacher, Jesus, who when overwhelmed by ministry went off to pray. I have discovered in the overwhelmed moments that I need to take back my schedule and create space for spiritual preparation. On the days I make the time to sit with the Lord, regardless of the craziness of the day ahead, the results are less stressful or more manageable—even enjoyable.

A very wise woman told me many times that when the host enjoys the event, then it is successful. DREs are the hosts of countless ecclesial happenings. Therefore, replenishing our strength—physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual—will give birth to greater joy.

So, what did you do for Valentine’s Day? I shared an evening with my husband instead of 50 Confirmation candidates. What are you doing on your birthday? I am taking my birthday off!

About Margie Copeland 7 Articles
Margie Copeland has been involved in parish ministry for over 30 years, starting with her certification in youth ministry. This progressed to directorship of a full faith formation program for several parishes. Margie is presently Director of Faith Formation at St. Joseph Parish in Fairhaven, MA. She holds a bachelor’s in education from Bridgewater State University, Bridgewater, MA, and several certificates in spiritual leadership. She has directed days of reflection and retreats for adults and youth for the last 20 years. Margie lives in Assonet, MA, with her husband of 40+ years.

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