Recently ChristLife traveled to the Archdiocese of New York to facilitate a regional gathering of parish leaders and to present a Following Christ/Sharing Christ Conference.
Regional Leaders Meeting
On Friday evening nearly 40 parish leaders engaged in running the ChristLife evangelization process gathered at St. Joseph Seminary in Yonkers to pray, be inspired, share successes and challenges, and to learn from one another.
The most powerful part of the gathering was the palpible enthusiasm of the parish leaders as they enthusiastically shared the fruit of ChristLife in their parishes.
“Before ChristLife the Holy Spirit was a complete unknown to me,” one woman from a parish in Staten Island shared. “Now I feel completely transformed by the Holy Spirit.”
A priest from Yonkers shared how his parish has tried every program or marketing technique to help people come back to church. None have worked. But he shared how engaging in ChristLife is different because it places the focus on making disciples, not just upon an experience.
A young woman from Port Chester shared how Discovering Christ had brought healing and a new sense of togetherness to their parish community, which recently had gone through a painful merging process.
The evening also included an inspirational talk from Dave Nodar, as he encouraged the leaders to not view the ChristLife process as a program but rather as an opportunity to truly live the lifestyle of missionary disciples.
The conclusion of the evening was simple but powerful as parish leaders from the Bronx to Staten Island to Poughkeepsie bowed their heads and asked for the Lord’s help in the mission of evangelization.
Following Christ/Sharing Christ Conference
On Saturday approximately 115 parish leaders from 13 parishes gathered at the Cardinal Spellman Center at St. Joseph Seminary for a one-day conference on Following and Sharing Christ.
The day featured presentations, times of praise and worship, group discussion, and practicums designed to help conference attendees experientially learn the course dynamics.
Participant appreciated the interactive dynamics of the conference. “The activities and discussions within the table group really help to understand and learn the objectives” shared one conference attendee.
Many parish leaders were personally touched by the session on forgiveness and the closing exercise called “cardboard testimonies” where group members share a simple before / after statement about the difference knowing Jesus Christ personally has made in their lives.
A woman shared as a result of the forgiveness session that she was finally able to forgive someone from her past who had deeply wounded her.
The day concluded with Mass celebrated by Fr. Bill Cosgrove who summarized the ChristLife process with four statements of the Lord Jesus.
- “Come and see.” This is the first step for everyone that Discovering Christ aims to accomplish. To “come” and to really “see” Jesus for who he is.
- “Come and follow.” He invites us next to leave everything behind and follow him as a disciple, the aim of Following Christ.
- “Wait and pray.” Before he gives the Great Commission he tells the disciples to stop and wait for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Without prayer and the Holy Spirit evangelization is impossible.
- “Go and tell the good news.” The final step is Sharing Christ with the world. Jesus wants us to go outside of our comfort zones to share the Gospel.
As people left the conference they felt spiritually renewed for the work of evangelization and discipleship, writing to us on the course evaluations:
“It made me want to go out and spread the word on how Jesus has enriched my life.”
“It made me want to pursue God even more and gave me a burst of energy and zeal to do so.”
“It rekindled that joy of the love of Christ which propels my desire to share it.”
We pray that both the regional leader meeting and the conference were not only a powerful experience for all who attended but also produces lasting fruit in each person and parish represented.