The ChristLife team partnered with the Diocese of Buffalo to present a Discovering Christ conference on October 16-17, 2015 at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Harris Hill, NY. Participants received training on the first part of the ChristLife evangelization process, Discovering Christ, and engaged in opportunities for spiritual renewal. An estimated 100 people attended the conference, representing 15+ parishes. Many were from Buffalo, but there were a few exceptions. One parish team traveled from the Diocese of Metuchen, NJ and another team returned after attending the Diocese of Syracuse Discovering Christ Conference in July!
Dennis Mahaney, Director of Evangelization and Parish Life for the Diocese of Buffalo, opened the conference with a single question, “Why are you here?” His answer? “Because Christ lives! And we live for Christ.” Dennis’ encouragement and welcome set a tone of excitement for the Discovering Christ conference.
On Friday evening, Dave Nodar spoke about the Catholic Church’s call to the New Evangelization. Dianne Davis followed by presenting what Discovering Christ is and how she’s seen it work in parishes throughout the Archdiocese of New York. Conference participants appreciated how “hearing about the mission of evangelization laid the foundation and the follow-up talk showed how Discovering Christ could make it happen.”
Saturday morning, Most Reverend Richard Malone joined the Discovering Christ Conference to preside over the conference Mass. Bishop Malone’s homily focused on the Church’s call to evangelization, found in Pope Paul VI’s Evangelii Nuntiandi. He reminded us, “We're wired for God. That's how He makes us."
"I join Archbishop Lori and Cardinal O'Brien in my admiration for the ChristLife process. Parishes can use this conversational approach in many ways to foster confident Catholics, who find joy in following Christ, and share that joy with others."
– Bishop Richard J. Malone
Saturday was filled with engaging presentations, a sample Discovering Christ session, and prayer with one another. Many conference participants experienced a renewal in their relationship with the Lord. One person shared, “[The conference] increased my sense of intimacy with the Trinity, especially the Holy Spirit.”
For some, the Discovering Christ conference was an answered prayer. One parish team “saw the hand of God in our parish’s journey to date, which has obviously been leading us to Discovering Christ.” Many also appreciated the opportunity to connect with Catholics in their area who are inspired to evangelize. “It was wonderful to see and meet like-minded people. Sometimes it feels like you're alone in your desire to see your parish come alive for Christ.”
As a follow-up to the Discovering Christ Conference, the Diocese of Buffalo will run a pilot course of Discovering Christ for interested parishes. Contact Dennis Mahaney for more information.
All quotes are from conference evaluations.