Source + Summit 2012

by Pat on March 19, 2012

in events,faith,ministry,reflection

If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31

Working in ministry, it can sometimes become easy to take the grace of God and his incredible action in the world for granted. Being surrounded daily by faithful youth, wonderful parents & inspiring ministers can, somehow, just become the status quo. I’m not sure why God called me to the vocation of speaker & musician, but I’m guessing it has something to do with the blessing of keeping my eyes constantly open to his work.

This past weekend, I made my first trip to the Diocese of Evansville, Indiana for the 2012 Source + Summit Eucharistic retreat with over 500 youth. Source + Summit is a retreat experience based on the old Youth 2000 model, much like the Destination Jesus retreat that I was familiar with in the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana.

But being new to S+S, I was blown away by the power of the experience, the depth of the prayer, and the openness to the voice of Jesus throughout the entire weekend. As is pretty typical of my Pensées/ADD style, I thought I’d sporadically offer up some people and things that I’m eternally grateful for in reflecting on the weekend:

Jesus. The weekend’s theme was “Take the Land,” focused on empowering the teens to take the land that God has won for them through Jesus and his Church. And let’s just say that Jesus showed up and brought it to the youth this weekend! I was able to talk with some youth who were making their fifth S+S, and Jesus was still speaking to them in new and exciting ways. The Eucharistic procession on Saturday night was obviously one of the highlights, and affected every person in the room in a different and profound way.

Gail Shetler & the S+S Team. I know a lot of called, gifted and holy ministers, but Gail Shetler and her team took that role to a new height this weekend. S+S is truly a family ministry for Gail & her family and her friends, and it’s become a part of the rhythm of their lives. So much so that she welcomed a new grandson into the world during this year’s retreat – seems appropriate enough! Many thanks to the whole Shetler & Clark families for their hospitality, prayer and energy. The rest of volunteers were just as committed and faithful, and it paid off in the grace that shone through the retreat.

Southern accents. I miss ’em, even if they were pretty slight.  Fantastic, y’all!

Memorial High School. The weekend took place at a great Catholic high school in Evansville, which also happens to be the alma mater of Donny Baseball. Super cool.

Fr. Dusty Burns. This dude is RIDICULOUSLY cool. He’s a rapping priest who’s wonderfully grounded in his vocation and purpose. I had seen this awesome video of his before, but we got to check out his newest production (below) and the dude rapped live for us. I’m tellin’ ya, that guy’s a blessing to his parish, diocese & Church.

Fertile soil. I was honored to speak with the men, women & parents this weekend on the Theology of the Body and “Taking the Land of our Sexuality.” This is such a deeply personal, deeply critical topic that every single retreatant was 100% ready for! There was some serious fertile soil in the hearts of these youth and adults, and it showed in the totally beautiful, and sometimes heart-wrenching, conversations that I was able to share with many of them afterward.

I can’t express how much sadness and aimlessness exists in love and relationships, especially among our precious youth. It was humbling to share my experience and the truth of true love with them, and it was even more humbling to hear about how Jesus was able to embrace them through that truth. My prayers go out to every single one of those youth who are struggling to embrace chastity and are trying so desperately to do the will of Jesus.

Bishop Thompson. The newest of all the Indiana bishops, this man is wasting no time getting to know his flock and making hispriorities known, one of which is the youth of the Evansville Diocese. The Bishop was around during the weekend and was an inspiring presence at the closing Mass – this Diocese is in good shape with a shepherd like him at the helm.

The CFRs. Some of the repeat guests at S+S are the priests, brothers and sisters of the Community of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. These simple and joyful men & women were around all weekend as a witness to the beauty of God’s call and the humility it takes to follow it. I especially had a blast getting to know Brother Giles (despite his White Sox fandom) and hearing the witness of Sr. Faustina about the Blessed Mother. Praise God for their presence.

Googling in the name of the Lord. I was already aware that the Holy Spirit could do pretty much anything if it was just asked for help, but I never had a great understanding of the ways that the Spirit can work through a computer screen. It wasn’t until Saturday night that I discovered that I was led to S+S when a Google search for a brought up my name & website as a Catholic youth speaker and musician. I was blown away until I found out that Gail had prayed before she started the online search for a speaker – then it made more sense. :)

Thanks be to God for his goodness and grace, and for the blessing of ministering at Source + Summit 2012. My prayers are with all the youth and adults from the weekend, and I hope that our paths will cross again soon. But we always have heaven at the very least…

Keep on taking the land!

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