DCCW retreat emphasizes meaning of evangelization is ‘putting in a good word for Jesus’

Categories: Around the Diocese

April 11, 2014, edition
By Rita Meyer

“Our hearts get bigger and our arms spread wider.” That was how Benedictine Sister Joyce Iten, the morning speaker, described evangelization to over 100 Catholic women March 29 at the annual spring retreat of the St. Cloud Diocesan Council of Catholic Women. St. Joseph Parish, St. Joseph, hosted the event at their new parish center.

With a theme of “Know Your Faith and Live it — The New Evangelization,” Sister Joyce, pastoral minister at St. Joseph’s, spoke about faith being the core of evangelization. “We’re all called to evangelize and we do it by telling stories, talking to our children and sharing faith experiences with others.” She encouraged attendees to “put in a good word for Jesus” in any way they can.

She used the example of her daily email message to over 40 family members. For about two years, she would often include something spiritual or inspiring. When she received no comments from family members, she stopped doing that. When they indicated they missed her words of encouragement, she resumed these inspirational messages.

The day included Mass celebrated by Father Jerry Mischke, DCCW spiritual advisor. He reinforced the evangelization theme saying that we are a dwelling place for God. “The power of the Holy Spirit in us ranges from a great fire when we stand in awe of all the wonders God has created for us to a small flicker when we realize how desperately we need God.”

Beatitudes a guide

Following a soup and sandwich lunch buffet catered by Kay’s Kitchen, attendees listened to afternoon presenter Benedictine Sister Margaret Michaud, from the Spirituality Center at St. Benedict’s Monastery, speak about the greatest evangelizer, Jesus. She used the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) as her example, with the Eight Beatitudes as the heart of Jesus’ evangelization message. The first four beatitudes include a promise of a future fulfillment whereas the last four require action.

Both Sisters Joyce and Margaret referred to Pope Francis’ “The Joy of the Gospel” as a reference tool for living a more joy-filled life. As Christians, we’re to live in joy. Even with all our struggles and issues, we need to hang on to “the joy of the Gospel.”