October 14, 2015 // Uncategorized

Building relationship emphasized at Zeal

By Tim Johnson

More photos from ZEAL can be found in the photo gallery.

FORT WAYNE — ‘“Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.”  These words of St. Paul to the Romans sum up the purpose for the Zeal, Missionary Discipleship Summit on Saturday, Oct. 10, at Bishop Dwenger High School, and Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades shared them during his homily at the Mass.

More than 200 participants took part in the day that emphasized “relationship,” that Catholics are called to embody in their lives to create a missionary spirit, at home and in their communities.

Bishop Rhoades continued, “We are called, like St. Paul and the Romans whom he exhorted, to have zeal for the Lord and His service. This is an essential quality for an authentic disciple of Jesus. This is what makes a disciple a ‘missionary disciple.’ It is zeal for the glory of God and for the salvation of souls. “

The making of disciples was the theme that carried throughout the day with the keynote speakers Dr. Greg and Lisa Popcak and in the two sessions of workshops that followed. In breakout sessions throughout the day, the theme was also emphasized.

“Discipleship and evangelization is all about relationship,” said Greg Popcak in his keynote.

The new evangelization, he said, is how to communicate the Gospel to a world where words don’t matter anymore. “The world needs to see Christ’s love living in our relationships,” Greg noted.

Lisa Popcak spoke of Pope Francis’ recent visit to the U.S. The Popcaks were speakers at the World Meeting of Families, but Lisa noted, “The Catholic difference was palpable (at the theological conference and papal activities).”

“People were kind, people were happy, people were loving, people were reverential to each other, and they turned out in droves because they sensed something amazing was happening,” she said.

“They sensed they were sons and daughters of the Most High God, and each one of you is not just a cog in the wheel, but a son or a daughter of the everlasting Father and you are created in His image,” Lisa said. “And every single person you relate to is created in His image or likeness whether or not acknowledging it, and that is something Pope Francis reminded us of when he came a few weeks ago.”

Lisa said so many people showed up for the papal activities to see the pope because “we are starving to be reminded that we are created in the image and likeness of God.”

“Relationship matters,” Lisa emphasized, “more now than ever before.”

Greg noted, “The Catholic difference in relationship is all about presence, being present to the people in our lives.”

St. John Paul II’s theology of the body presents a blueprint for God’s plan and relationships.

They spoke of how corporal and spiritual works of mercy, simple things such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, are things “we do day in and day out,” that are part of that relationship.

Lisa said when she reviewed the works of mercy with her oldest son as he prepared to make his first Communion years ago, he noted, “They should call those the ‘corporal works of mommy.’”

“All that stuff that you think is drudgery,” noted Lisa, “stuff we do all day” — cooking, cleaning, folding that laundry — “seems like drudgery … but what we bring to it is love — love that the people in your life are dying for.”

Many of those corporal and spiritual works of mercy were vividly displayed as parish groups or diocesan ministries set up displays staffed by participants in the Ministry and Service Fair located in the Bishop Dwenger SAC gym. Participants were encouraged to visit the 31 displays throughout the day during breaks and lunch.

The Popcaks encouraged their audience members to think about the rituals and routines that draw family together: Thanksgiving, Christmas and other gatherings.

They also encouraged families to connect on a daily basis, carve out intentional time for work, play, talk and prayer. That can include working together on chores, taking a walk around the neighborhood, playing cards or having meaningful conversation.

Greg cited that 83 percent of Catholic families do not pray together. Only 13 percent of Catholic families say grace every day.

Greg also encouraged participants that their obligation of love is to build up people. The opposite of love according to theology of the body, he said, is “use.”

The definition of love is to work for the good of one another, Lisa noted.

“Love” personalizes, Greg said, but “use” depersonalizes.

The Popcaks encouraged participants to create a love list — things that their loved ones like and enjoy and then find little ways to create relationship based on that love list.

Sarah and Tim Speer, members of Immaculate Conception Parish, Auburn, attended the conference. The Speers are participants of the Couples With Kids ministry, which they presented in the ministry fair.
Sarah Speer hopes to invite more people, couples from her parish, to attend next year’s Zeal summit.

“We all work together to build community in the parish and it is nice to come here and get ‘fed’ and feel that the work that we’re doing is really making an impact. Other people are having the same struggles and having the same issues that we are and they want to keep growing in their faith,” she said. “We want to take that back to our parish and inspire more people to get involved and become closer to Christ.”

Tim Speer described Couples With Kids as a group of families that get together at Immaculate Conception to foster family time in terms of service and social time. In building that relationship, they minister to one another, he said.

“It’s relationships that are needed to invite people to pray with them or to do a Bible study with them,” Tim said.

“I think that’s what’s happening here today,” he added. “We’re trying to show it’s that relationship that matters to build that trust with one another.”

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