The church does not have a mission -- rather, God's mission has a church, a priest told a gathering of women religious Thursday morning.
Divine Word Fr. Stephen Bevans told approximately 800 members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious gathered here for the group's annual assembly that only by focusing on the Holy Spirit can they quench the thirsts of the world.
To live God's mission, Bevans said, the church must live in what he called "prophetic dialogue" -- "an openness in contemplation to discover the thirsts of the world and a determination in humility to work for the slaking of those thirsts."
Bevans' address outlined one of the paradoxes of the Holy Spirit -- whom he referred to as "she" throughout his talk -- by having the crowd repeatedly recite a part of a hymn by James K. Manley: "Spirit, Spirit of gentleness, blow through the wilderness, calling and free. Spirit, Spirit of restlessness, stir [us] from placidness, wind, wind on the sea."