Convocation: A family affair

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Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann spoke to delegates about his hopes for the convocation and for the evangelization efforts in northeast Kansas. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

by Moira Cullings
moira.cullings@theleaven.org

“It’s good to have all the family together tonight,” Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann exclaimed as he kicked off the “Enflame Our Hearts: Be Disciples, Make Disciples” convocation held at the Overland Park Convention Center Oct. 3.

And he wasn’t kidding.

“The first miracle of the convocation is that all of our parishes are represented,” said the archbishop. “I don’t think that’s ever happened in any of our initiatives.”

The energy was palpable as the archbishop spoke about the days to come.

“We never know what the Holy Spirit’s going to do,” said the archbishop. “He’s always going to do greater things than we can imagine.”

But he asked delegates to enter into Enflame in search of an answer to an important but simple question: “What does it mean to be a missionary disciple?”

“It means being so grateful for the gift of your friendship with Jesus, for your Catholic faith, for the meaning, the hope, the purpose, the joy that it brings to your life — that you want to share that gift with others,” he explained.

The archbishop didn’t shy away from addressing the obstacles the church faces that make discipleship challenging.

“We’re painfully aware of the humanity of the church, of the weakness of its leaders,” he said.

The archbishop noted that, although it’s “a time when many want to hide their identity as Catholics, it’s also a time when our culture and society never needed more the truth, the beauty, the goodness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

And then, the archbishop presented a request.

“I ask you to pray with me during these days that our hearts will be open to welcome the Holy Spirit and to allow him to empower us as he did that original tiny band of disciples,” he said.

A group, he added, that didn’t have the numbers or resources we have today.

“And Jesus had given them this impossible mission to go and to share the Gospel with all the world,” he said. “And yet, remarkably, they were able to do so, even though they seemed totally unqualified.”

The archbishop concluded by urging the delegates to pray for the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

“Let us, during these days, let go and let God make this time what he desires for each of us,” he said.

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