In this post, I'm going to share a few outstanding ideas from each of the speakers I heard at the celebration. These are just “teasers” for reflection and “food for thought,” and I would highly suggest that interested blog readers order their own copies of the talks, which are available through the Rediscover website.
The celebration's theme was “Horizon of Hope.”
Jeff Cavins was the celebration's emcee, but he offered some excellent reflections along the way. Here are just a couple:
“We are a people of faith on a journey to a new horizon of hope.”
“Our Catholic faith is the transcendent road map toward the horizon of hope.”
Archbishop Paul Coakley
The title of Archbishop Paul Coakley's talk was “Prayer as an Expression of Hope.” He began by noting that prayer is the setting for hope and that prayer sustains hope because in prayer we gratefully remember the wonderful things God has done in the past and recall that He will always be just as loving and faithful in the future.
The Archbishop also reminded his listeners of a passage in St. John's Gospel in which John the Baptist points out Jesus to his disciples. The disciples turn to Jesus and ask Him where He is staying. He replies, “Come and see,” and they follow Him. St. John then notes that it was about 4 o'clock in the afternoon. The Archbishop then invited his listeners to remember their own “4 o'clock moments,” those moments when God has specially touched their hearts and transformed their lives.
Father Dave Dwyer
Father Dave Dwyer's presentation, entitled “The New Evangelization in Your Everyday Life,” helped his hearers understand the term “New Evangelization” as the “reaching out to baptized Catholics and rekindling of faith in persons and cultures where it has grown lackluster.”
Father Dwyer also told his hearers that the “New Evangelization” must start with each Catholic individual. “We can't give away what we don't have,” he said practically, so “we need to be reconverted and set on fire.” That means renewing prayer life, living the Mass, being nourished by the Eucharist, and ever deepening and strengthening one's relationship with God.
Dr. Scott Hahn also emphasized the role of the Mass in the New Evangelization. “The basis for the New Evangelization is the Eucharist,” he taught. In the Mass, he continued, Catholics breathe in the Spirit and ingest the Word of God. Then they go forth to proclaim the Word they received and exhale the Spirit.
Several of the main points of Dr. Hahn's talk came from his books Consuming the Word and Evangelizing Catholics. He pointed out especially that Catholics need to be joyful in their faith in order to draw others back to or into the Church. When Catholics lack joy, he said, God is reminding them that they still need that ongoing grace of conversion in their own lives that opens the door to the joy that only Jesus can give.
If these ideas have inspired and/or intrigued you, please visit the Rediscover website to order your own copies of the above talks and the many other wonderful presentations that were part of this year's Rediscover Catholic Celebration.