The Catholic leaders of South Jersey descended upon Atlantic City like a minor hurricane. There, in the “citadel of casinos," we prayed, sang, reflected, listened, dialogued and grew in our appreciation for the need to be missionary disciples compelled to bring Jesus to a hurting world.
Although the speeches and workshops were given by renowned Catholics, the interpersonal and collective dynamics were the most impressive qualities of the Convocation. To see so many committed Catholic leaders who desire to bring the Gospel to their parishes and beyond was very inspiring. A kind of momentum developed as the days passed. One can only see in it the grace of the Holy Spirit.
While the event had many positive aspects, I must say that I was particularly proud of our own parish delegates. Our discussions at each meal were profound and stimulating. I am very edified by their deep personal faith, their love for and fidelity to Christ’s Church, and their dedication to St. Peter’s. I really look forward to working with them on behalf of the parish in the months to come.
There was another special moment for us too. Throughout the convocation, several individuals from parishes around the diocese were selected to give their personal testimony of faith. Among them were our own parishioners, Mike and Kathy O’Callaghan. As they mounted the podium and told their story of faith, we all beamed with pride. They spoke of how they overcame great challenges of health and family life through prayer and the grace of God. Once again the caliber of parishioners we have here at St. Peter’s was on display for the entire diocese to see.
There was only one bad thing to report. On the last night of the Convocation, I tried to double last week’s collection at the roulette table at Harrah’s. Unfortunately, the luck of the Irish was not with me and I lost it all. So sorry! Now you will have to double your Sunday offering this weekend!
In any case, the delegates of St. Peter’s and I have returned with renewed zeal to bring a new spirit of evangelization home to our parish. I will keep you informed of our efforts as we develop our plans.
Please pray that a new Pentecost will burst forth here in Merchantville and throughout South Jersey. May Our Blessed Mother be the catalyst of this revival.
Our Lady, Star of the New Evangelization, pray for us!
Fr. Tim Byerley, Pastor