August 6, 2017
This past week five members of our parish and I went to Colorado Springs to attend a conference on evangelization offered by the Catherine of Siena Institute. I was joined by Sr. Joyanne Sullivan, SND, Randy and Patricia De Vera, Fr. Francis Goode, OP, and Darlene Finochiarro. Attending the conference were priests, religious and lay people from Texas, Louisiana, Colorado, Connecticut, Minnesota, Ohio, and even Barbados!
The conference focused on learning about thresholds of conversion that people cross on the way to becoming disciples of Jesus, and utilizing the understanding of the conversion process to evangelize in the context of real, trusting relationships. This process parallels that growth in relationship between two people who become lifelong friends, or between a man and woman who choose to enter the covenant of marriage. It is based upon the experiences of many people who have gone through the process of conversion to Jesus Christ. It recognizes that faith is fundamentally a relationship with God.
Pope St. John Paul II described conversion as a result of encountering Jesus through His own words and actions in scripture. “The proclamation of the Word of God has Christian conversion as its aim: a complete and sincere adherence to Christ and his Gospel through faith . . . Conversion means accepting, by a personal decision, the saving sovereignty of Christ and becoming his disciple.” This is the perennial work of the Church, of each parish, and even of each Christian. My hope is that our renovated community center will be a place where we can not only offer events to help people encounter Jesus, but also a center where we can form His disciples to help others make the journey to faith in Him.