Advertisements ad ad ad ad ad ad ad ad ad

March 3 - March 16, 2013

Leaders focus on Mass at annual parish day gathering

Jose Pena, Lorena Gonzalez and David Her, from St. Philomena Parish break out into a small group discussionduring a workshop titled "ESPIRITUAL PARA SER LIDER Y FERMENTO EN LA IGLESIA Y EN LA SOCIEDAD" at Parish Leadership Day at Mother McCauley High School on Feb. 23. Leadership Day included over 100 workshops given in English, Polish and Spanish. Cardinal George engaged in an informal dialog with participants during the lunch period, conducted a workshop on evangelization and served as the main celebrant at the closing Liturgy. Parish Leadership Day 2013 is sponsored by the Archdiocesan Office for Councils. Karen Callaway / Catholic New World

Participants listen as Marco Lopez gives a talk. Karen Callaway / Catholic New World

Maria Gonzalez, from Immaculate Conception Parish, listens as Marco Lopez gives a talk. Karen Callaway / Catholic New World

Hermila Camarillo, Sr. Rosario Cruz Moreno, Jose Morales and Guadalupe Perez break out into a small group discussion. Karen Callaway / Catholic New World

Lina Aguilar and Mercedes Sandoval from Our Lady of Lourdes listen as Marilu Gonzalez gives a talk on "COLABORADORES EN LA OBRA DE DIOS: EL LLAMADO A LA PASTORAL." Karen Callaway / Catholic New World

Magda Prado and Rosalinda Guzman, from St. John Bosco Parish, listen as Marilu Gonzalez gives a talk on "COLABORADORES EN LA OBRA DE DIOS: EL LLAMADO A LA PASTORAL." Karen Callaway / Catholic New World

Cardinal George explains what happens during a conclave while in the process of electing a new pope during a Q&A period during lunch.Karen Callaway / Catholic New World

Magda Prado from St. John Bosco and Margarita Macias from St. Simon the Apostle pick up materials following a talk on "COLABORADORES EN LA OBRA DE DIOS: EL LLAMADO A LA PASTORAL" at Parish Leadership Day. Karen Callaway / Catholic New World

Rosa Riviera from St. Agnes of Bohemia Parish looks over the schedule during lunch. Karen Callaway / Catholic New World

Cardinal George smiles as he reads a card suggesting he should be the next pope. Karen Callaway / Catholic New World

Father Pawel Bandurski speaks about the Catholic Church in America at Parish Leadership Day at Mother McAuley High School on Feb. 23 Karen Callaway / Catholic New World

By Michelle Martin

STAFF WRITER

About 1,500 Catholics from the Archdiocese of Chicago gathered Feb. 23 at Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School to share fellowship and ideas, learn how to better serve their parish communities and find inspiration.

This year’s annual Parish Leadership Day, sponsored by the archdiocesan Office for Councils, focused on “Encountering the Living Christ in the Eucharist,” which relates to this being the Year of Sunday Mass under the archdiocese’s Strategic Pastoral Plan and the worldwide Year of Faith.

Keynote speaker David Currie, a former evangelical missionary who later joined the Catholic Church with his wife and six children, touched on both themes as he shared his story and an analysis of the Nicene Creed — a prayer that sets out what the Catholic faithful believe, and is recited every Sunday at Mass.

Currie said his wife, Colleen, said leaving their evangelical church behind was the most difficult thing she’d ever done.

“We left family, friends and everything we knew behind,” said Currie, author of “Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic” (Ignatius Press, 1996).

But in doing so, he said, he and his family became part of a “steady stream” of evangelical ministers joining the Catholic Church, even though it meant leaving not just their faith, but also their livelihood.

“The Mass is what sets us apart as the people of God,” Currie said. “If the Jews are the people of the law and the Protestants are the people of the book, then we Catholics are the people of the Eucharist.”

Father Louis Cameli picked up that theme later in the day in his workshop on “Motivation for the Year of Sunday Mass.”

“I cannot imagine my life without the Eucharist,” he said.

If people really understood what the Eucharist is — an opportunity to meet and communicate with Jesus present in the world today — it would not be difficult to persuade them to come to Mass, he said.

“We should learn a lesson from people who are in advertising and sales” to get the message out, Cameli said.

Many of the participants said that while they enjoyed the theological discussions, what they really came for was to find out what other people in similar positions in their own parishes were doing.

Linda Krier attended with almost all of her fellow members of the parish pastoral council at St. Benedict, 2215 W. Irving Park Road. Everybody attended different workshops and then gathered to share what they had learned, she said.

Deacon Mark Phelan from Most Holy Redeemer Parish in Evergreen Park, — a first-time attendee to Parish Leadership Day —concurred with Currie’s emphasis on the need for Sunday Mass.

“When my children went off to college, that was the advice I gave them: Go to Mass every Sunday,’ he said. “If they do that, they won’t go too far wrong.”