At the EWTN Family Celebration
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
By Father Mark

At the EWTN Family Celebration I met a woman from Tanzania who now lives in Atlanta. She wanted to say hello to me because I had met her mother and sister, who still live in Tanzania, at World Youth Day in Australia. I bumped into them at the Sydney Cathedral and I was amazed to hear about how the network is reaching people in Africa.

I love these conferences that we have. I love getting to meet the people that watch the network and see how the message of the Gospel and the teachings of the Church resonate in peoples lives and maybe help them through some difficulty they are dealing with. We usually hear a lot of confessions at these events, and it helps us friars to get to know the EWTN family better.

The conference is also a place of evangelization. We always catch some people that might have been away from the church for awhile and just tagged along with someone for the weekend. Deacon Bill always makes exhortations to go to confession, and people listen to him because it is where we are purified and given graces to overcome sin in our lives.

In coming together, we inspire one another. Everyone has a story of what the Lord has done in their lives. Certainly in the confessional a priest hears of struggles and victories in the Christian life, and I got to hear many stories this weekend of perseverance and hope. We all have a function in the Mystical Body of Christ; we are all workers in the vineyard in some way, and the Gospel touches every part of our lives.

It is good that we can come together and, perhaps, see in each the gifts we have received. Praying for one another, encouraging one another and just sharing an excitement about the faith are no small things. In an age that has largely turned away from God, it is important to be with others who are trying to live a Christian life. The faith is always being made new in us when we live and apply it in the everydayness of life, and this radiance of faith has a way of enlightening others around us.

I also enjoyed meeting the speakers at the conferences. For some time, I had wanted to meet Barbara McGuigan and had always managed to miss her on her trips here. I got to hear about her work, about obstacles overcome and her trusting in the Lord for inspiration. Most of the time, we are the ones getting in the way of Gods working in our lives, and seeing others being an instrument of God inspires us to get out of the way and let Him work.

The conferences are great, and I hope whoever is reading this can come to one someday. I would love to meet you.

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