For Parishes – Monthly Reflection

Jan 31, 2023 | Monthly Reflection

God used a Catholic parish to change my life. Which is strange because I wasn’t Catholic.  I was a Protestant university student looking for a place to pray.  Protestant churches were closed, but an old parish church a few blocks from campus was open, although I didn’t know why.  I stepped into that church and felt a profound Presence of God that I had never experienced before.  

So I started to pray in that church when it was quiet. My Protestant friends warned me that if I didn’t stop praying in that strange place, I might become Catholic. I laughed. Now I laugh at myself because I did become Catholic and that parish became my new spiritual home. I quickly realized that I was not alone. As one friend observed, “You can’t swing a cat around this place without hitting a convert.”  

Our pastor and I dreamed of parishes becoming places where people of all backgrounds could meet Jesus and respond to His call. We studied Church teaching about the mission of the laity and the parish. Large numbers of adults entered the Church every year. I created and taught a discernment process to help Catholics discern how they had been gifted by God for the sake of others. Wonderful charisms of mercy, healing, teaching, intercessory prayer, and leadership started to emerge in the community. Our pastor started a parish group for young adults who were discerning Church vocations. Eight entered religious life and the priesthood.  

We have now had the joy of seeing God do amazing things in hundreds of different parishes in fourteen countries. The icon painted for our Institute shows St. Catherine of Siena holding the old parish church that God used to change my life.

Sherry Weddell
Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (United States)


The Pope’s Official Prayer Network

We pray that the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick confer to those who receive it and their loved ones the power of the Lord and become ever more a visible sign of compassion and hope for all