Tomorrow, I’ll head over to Anaheim to be a part of this year’s Archdiocese of Los Angeles Religious Education Congress. I’ll make my way through crowds of catechists, Catholic school teachers, priests, sisters, volunteers, young adults and kids–and protesters too–to attend Friday’s Opening Rite and Welcome.
I have the great privilege of being a speaker at Congress. I’ve done it for the past few years, and every year I seem to feel a bit more nervous at the prospect. It’s not the numbers of people that give me the jitters. It’s the knowledge that each and every person I’ll share the Convention Center with could be up in my spot, perhaps doing a better job than I will.
Far from convinced that my “expertise” has earned me the podium, I’m increasingly convinced that being called to Congress to serve is honestly one of the greatest blessings in my life.
You who have never attended Congress will hear jokes about liturgical dance and womenpriests.
When I hear “Congress”, I think of 40,000 souls who love Jesus and the Church so much that they will give up three days to live, to learn, to love and to worship.
I think of vast numbers of people on their knees in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament.
I think of long lines for confessions, and the priests who give their time to offer penance and reconciliation.
I think of ballrooms full of people receiving the Eucharist.
I think of classrooms full of people who come to learn, so that they can do a better job of sharing their love for Christ with those they serve.
When Sr. Edith Prendergast gives her final opening remarks speech on Friday, I’ll be listening closely. She has overseen Congress for many years, inviting learners like me to come and to grow in our faith so that we can go out and share it with the world.
Congress has helped–and will continue to help–me find my “voice” in a Church that is big and diverse and beautiful. Sure, it may not be your thing.
But you have your own voice. So there is a place that’s perfect for you too.
And isn’t that one of the true beauties of our Church? That Christ shared the gospel and called twelve. And they called others. And we too are called.
To share our voices, to give our gifts, to serve.
Not to have others look at us and think we’re holy, or that we have it all figured out. You may, but I certainly don’t.
We share our voices in the Body of Christ to lead others to Christ.
If I can remember that when I stand before the microphone on Friday, I should be alright.
But send prayers anyway, just to be safe!
Where do you find, nurture and share your voice in the Body of Christ?