St. Greg’s invites all to say Yes at monthly gathering
Christianity began with Mary saying yes to God and following His will. Two thousand years later, God is still asking of us. Mary’s agreement to the Lord, her “fiat,” set forth the course of the Catholic Church and its good works. The staff at St. Gregory the Great Parish hopes to continue those good works by having everyone today also say yes to the Lord.
The Williamsville parish hosts a monthly Fiat service open to anyone who is interested in hearing how God works in our lives. The evening includes a guest speaker, adoration, prayer, and original music by Michael Cygan, one of the organizers of the event.
Cygan modeled the evening after some conferences he experienced while attending the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, and World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland.
“In Steubenville, I was very involved in music ministry, and one of the things that was very powerful over there was a monthly night of, I guess it began with the talk and then it led into a time of adoration and praise. So, the Fiat is very much based off of that.”
As a volunteer at World Youth Day in 2016, he took part in an all-volunteer Mass at the Basilica of the Divine Mercy Shrine. As a musician, he admired the 100-piece choir, as well the flags of all the participating nations waving. He recalls it as a powerful moment he wanted to replicate.
Fiat translates into “Let it be done,” the words Mary used in agreeing to be a mother to Jesus.
“We’re really hoping that the people who come, say yes, like Mary, so that Christ can become incarnate in them too. So, it’s really an imitation of Mary,” Cygan explained. “It’s been a beautiful theme and every single time we would break down the Annunciation passage. So, we had taken a line from the passage of the Annunciation and go through it one by one and that would be our focus for the month. Then the next month would be the next line. Then we went into the Magnificat.”
Held since January, each of the monthly sessions involves a theme, which the speaker uses to tie into the overall message of saying yes to God. One of the four priests who serve St. Greg’s offers a short reflection on the Gospel, which also ties into the theme. There is also adoration.
“What I really love doing is we have a eucharistic procession,” Cygan said. “So, the priest or presider will lift up the monstrance and walk in the midst of the pews just among the people blessing and giving people the opportunity to have an intimate moment with our Lord.”
The whole parish gets involved with Cygan and Nancy Erdman handling the music. Cygan provides what he calls a teaching song which he composes with an educational element to it. Brian Ruh, director of evangelization, acts as MC. Maria Suchyna leads the prayer ministry. Christie Thein captains the email campaign. Roe Spano handles the refreshments. Richard Patti and John Jaremko, from the parish’s youth ministry, wrote the song, “Let It Be Done.” There are even official T-shirts.
The Sept. 12 service saw guest speaker Dawn Iacono, pastoral associate for St. Martin of Tours and St. Thomas Aquinas Parishes in South Buffalo, talk about a missionary trip to Peru she took a few years ago. Ignoring uncertainties and trusting in the Lord the way Mary had, she climbed up the Andes to bring Communion to the poor and the Gospel of love to those who were so desperately in need of it.
“The Lord used my feet to take his compassion to a Third World country. I carried orphans on my back. I found babies who were born alive that were thrown into the garbage by the side of the road. And I helped the Sisters of the Missionary Servants of the Poor to bring those children into the orphanage to rock them and nurse them and give them life until they took their last breath. Yes, the Almighty has done great things for me by blessing me with feet to carry Him to the poor,” Iacono said.
The event has seen 120 people in attendance and has been livestreamed since April.
“At our (Sept. 5) fiat, we had a good number of older parishioners who gave one of our staff members some feedback saying, ‘I thought this was just for young people. This is great.’ So, it’s really for all ages and stages of faith,” said Erdman. “We do have a nice young adult population that seems to come to these things.”
The next Fiat will be held Saturday, Oct. 10, with Amy Betros from St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy as the guest speaker. Followed by Nov. 14, with Father Peter Santandreu, parochial vicar of St. Amelia Parish in Tonawanda.