5 years ago

franciscanway - Franciscan University of Steubenville

franciscanway - Franciscan University of Steubenville


LIVES 20 Franciscan Way • Autumn 2008 Changing Seth Harbaugh By Lisa Ferguson ife-ch ch c an a gingg.” That was the word most people used to describe descri ri r be b a Franciscan FFranciscan University summer conference “Life-changing.” before re r “awesome” “awesoome” and“a and “amazing” came into vogue. Like aw awesome and am aamazing, azing, life-changi life-changing doesn’t communicate much be beyo beyond y nd the tthe h enthu enthusiasm hu h siasm of the speak speaker. Here, three 2008 conference at aattendees te t ndee ees explain exactly y what chang changes they experienced in their lives an and pari parishes ri r shes through this thhis and previous prev conference seasons. Anita AAnita Sannito Valley Va V lley y Center, , California To set sset et the tthe stage, Imust I must admit I approached the Catholic Charismatic is ismati tic Conference Co Confer er e en ence c with a great deal dea of skepticism about the whole charismatic char aris isma m tic movement. move vement. I only went wen because a good friend asked me to accompany ac accomp mpany her. She said she thought I would get something out ou o t of the he ppro program. r gr gram. When en we w got go got to the fi rst session, session my friends insisted that I take an a aisle ais isle le sea seat eat be beca because c use of my hip pro problem so I could stretch out my left leg or get up and move if needed. Father David Pivonka, TOR, began his talk, and I found myself riveted to my chair, but as he continued, I felt compelled to leave. He was talking directly to me, and I didn’t want to hear what he had to say. I tried to leave, but there was a white-haired gentleman seated to my left, blocking me from the aisle. The more I listened to Father David, the more I began to feel God reaching down into my soul and taking away 35 years of pain and suffering. I still wanted to leave, but the old gentleman remained there, preventing me from doing so. At the end of the talk he was gone, and I got up and went back to my room completely drained. The next morning, when I told one of my friends what had transpired, and how the man seated to the left had prevented me from leaving, she was silent for a moment. Then she said, “Anita, there couldn’t have been anyone seated there; you were on the aisle.” I realized the “man” must have been my guardian angel sent by the Lord so I would listen to Father David. I later met with Father David, and he heard my confession. After 35 years of carrying around a terrible guilt, I walked away healed. Seth Harbaugh

Since I’ve returned home, my life has changed. I try to attend daily Mass and weekly adoration. I am more involved in Bible studies at the parish, and overall have a better relationship with the Lord. I am looking forward to next year’s conference. Susan Beard Collierville, Tennessee Catechist, Church of the Incarnation Six years ago, Martha Drennan, a Franciscan University alumna, came to our parish as director of Parish Faith Formation. It was like a giant light bulb came on. Working in conjunction with our pastor who is very catechetical, she’s brought about an explosion of adult faith formation. The numbers in our RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) program are growing every year, and our parish now offers many different classes including Scripture studies and a Catechism series for adults in addition to RCIA. One important way Martha helps me and others grow as catechists is to urge all the parish catechists to attend the St. John Bosco Conference for Catechists and Religious Educators. This summer was my fi fth conference, and I just graduated from the RCIA certifi cation track. The Bosco Conference is a good mix of practical methodology and some refocusing for your own spirituality. At home I get busy with all the organizational details, lesson plans, and I can lose sight of the goal, which is to get to heaven and to lead people around you to heaven. Being from the buckle of the Bible Belt, where Catholics are very thin on the ground, it’s always encouraging to be confi rmed in the truth of the Catholic faith and to meet with a community of Catholics as concerned as I am about faithfully handing on Church teaching. The people I meet each year are wonderful. I can call them and say, “I have this problem. What have you done in this situation?” and they’ll help me brainstorm. On our drive back home, our parish catechists talk about what we want to do in the future. We always bring back at least two or three ideas to our pastor and say, “We want to try this!” Emily Fogarty Father Tim Hepburn Archdiocese of Atlanta, Georgia CHANGING LIVES I came to Steubenville for my fi rst Young Adults Conference in 1986. I had recently encountered the Lord and the power of the Holy Spirit in a new way, and I was so happy to be with all those young adults who’d had a similar experience. To be in a dynamic, praisefi lled, faithful Catholic environment was almost like heaven. After that, I made every effort to go every year. The conferences allowed me to see that I was part of something the Holy Spirit was doing in the Church for the life of the world. The depth of spirituality and doctrine that came together was unparalleled in my experience. Every time I went, God spoke to me in some way. The conferences also helped me discern my vocation to the priesthood in two ways. First, they witnessed to and provided a model for a priesthood that consciously appropriates the “charismatic dimension” of the Church, as John Paul II described it. A monk and beloved seminary professor once said to me, “It must be hard for you in seminary because charismatic renewal has been so formative in your life and we basically don’t care.” He recognized how alone I felt, but at the conferences people cared that I stayed on course with what Jesus had done in me. Second, as a seminarian, the conferences provided a place of refuge during a time when seminaries were struggling through issues of academic freedom and doctrinal orthodoxy. At Franciscan conferences I didn’t have to fi ght through a minefi eld of theologies to fi nd the real Jesus. � The Numbers Adult Conferences Adults: 3,380 from 48 states, 4 Canadian provinces, and 8 other countries (Ghana, Australia, Ireland, Mexico, United Kingdom, Nigeria, Cayman Islands, and St. Lucia) Youth Conferences Youth: 37,743 attended 19 conferences held at 14 different sites around the country Emily Fogarty Seth Harbaugh Franciscan Way • Autumn 2008 21

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