I gave two talks this weekend for the awesome Faith on Fire Catholic family conference; for the kids and youth I gave a vocation talk we called “Your Amazing Future: Preparing Yourself for Your Own Happily Ever After.” For the women, I gave a talk called “Women of Mercy: The Dignity and Vocation of Women and the Year of Mercy.”
Can I just say: wow. What an honor and a blessing. When I was a teen my family moved to Anacortes, and it was at St. Mary’s that I was personally called by Jesus to be a missionary disciple. Here, I was drawn to the Eucharist, formed by the Blessed Virgin Mary, especially through the Kolbe Marian Consecration I made on May 13, 1995, and formed in friendship and community. After grad school, when we moved back to the beautiful PNW, we came to Faith on Fire conferences as a family, and more soul-fire was lit. To be able to speak and share with the other conference-goers was a treat! It’s a huge joy for me to bring our children to this parish that has been my home.
Fr. Mel Strazizich is in the Roman collar next to me in at the all-speaker Q & A Panel Fiscussion.
He was a friend from youth group when we were both teens at St. Mary in the 90’s. Now he is the pastor of the parish! Next to him, in the white habit, is Fr. Julian, who came to Anacortes as an exchange student from Argentina three years after I left for college. His host was a fervent Catholic parishioner attending St. Mary’s. The story I heard is that Julian found a Bible laying around the house, read it, and had an encounter with Christ’s mercy that lead to his conversion. Now he has co-founded a religious community dedicated to living and spreading the message of Divine Mercy, the Community of the Brothers of Merciful Jesus.
Jesus’ mercy was pouring out this weekend! Confessions were offered for 13 hours non-stop in the church! Between that, Adoration, the Masses, the Healing Service, the talks, the late-night bonfire and kids’ movie, and families of all ages, complete with kiddos running around the fields, it was truly a time of great fun, refreshment, and light, with the fire of the Holy Spirit burning brightly.
P.S. Further fruit from the conference: Kate is newly open to considering the possibility of a religious vocation, now that she has seen sisters wearing short-sleeved habits. Up to this point she assumed that all sisters and nuns had to vow to a life of wearing long sleeves, so she had always dismissed the entire idea outright. Thank you, sisters from Miami!