Priests, Deacons, Seminarians Ready to Serve, Sacrifice for the Church
bear witness to give testimony as John, the beloved disciple, did."
He referenced St. Thomas Aquinas' commentary on the Gospel of John, pointing out that Peter and John are often together in that Gospel.
"Aquinas says that these two disciples stand for two kinds of people: John represents those who are devoted to the contemplation of truth, and Peter stands for those whose main interest is to carry out the commandments, those in the active life," said Father Gadenz. We need to have aspects of both these disciples in order to be a witness, he said, but in today's world, we often forget that the contemplative aspect is crucial.
Deacon Ralph Poyo gave a homily focusing on the need for humility and the awareness of one's own sonship, to be true fathers to the people of God.
"We know that the minute we get out there to start serving, where does Satan attack?" asked Deacon Poyo, explaining that it is in the places of greatest vulnerability. "It's those places where we're fearful to act, where we choose not to trust in God, not to believe that we are his sons."
Kimberly Hahn offered a lay person's approach of ways to engage Catholics. She explained specifically that we need to be "contagious Catholics" by keeping a balance between being "theological pit bulls" that chase people down, and suffering from "Little Bo Peep syndrome," that is, thinking that letting people freely leave the Catholic Church will make them more willing to return.
"By virtue of our baptism we've received power to be his witnesses," she said. "Jesus' power and presence is what enables us to become contagious Catholics."
The retreat recharged the participants in a variety of ways.
"The personal aspect of the Word of God, the need for us to see that when preaching," stood out greatly for Father Mike McNamara of the Archdiocese of Boston, Massachusetts.
Having come to the retreat for at least 20 years, Father McNamara said that he especially enjoyed "sharing in the glory of the priesthood with other priests."
Second-year seminarian Adam Potter from the Diocese of Pittsburgh has attended Franciscan University's Defending the Faith Conferences with his father for at least five years, but this was only his second year at the Priests, Deacons, and Seminarians Retreat.
"I'm always uplifted in coming here, especially in adoration," he said, commenting on the strong "joy of these priests."
"It's a confirmation to me to see these men striving to serve the people," he said, and wants to strive to "live that joy witnessed by all these priests."
Upcoming Franciscan University summer conferences include the St. John Bosco Conference for Catholic educators (July 18-22), the Applied Biblical Studies Conference for anyone seeking a deeper knowledge and understanding of Scripture (July 25-27), and the Defending the Faith Conference which focuses on Catholic apologetics (July 29-31).
For more information, including conferences for youth, go to www.franciscanconferences.com.
Franciscan University of Steubenville
http://www.franciscan.edu OH, 43952 US
Tom Sofio - Associate Director of Public Relations,
Priests, deacons, seminarians, Franciscan University, Steubenville, retreat
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