Powerful testimony given virtually at THE WELL
Powerful testimony given virtually at THE WELL
By Paul Paterra
GREENSBURG – The theme for the recent the Diocese of Greensburg’s men’s conference THE WELL was “Jesus is Knocking: Open the Door.”
That message was prevalent throughout the virtual conference held March 20, as many members of the Diocese’s Men’s Ministry team testified as to how they opened the door and let Jesus into their lives.
As of …, there were nearly …views of the conference on the Diocese website, www.DioceseofGreensburg.org, Facebook page and YouTube channel.
“If it tugs on one man’s heart and helps him have a change in his life, then that’s all good,” said Chuck Boyer, Co-chairman of THE WELL and a parishioner of Our Lady of Grace Parish, Greensburg. “The feedback I’ve gotten was absolutely wonderful. The good thing about the way we did it is people can continue to go back to it. I’ve shared it a number of times. Everyone who I’ve spoken to who’s viewed it was very pleased with what they saw.”
Bishop Larry J. Kulick reminded those who participated that while Jesus may be knocking, the choice lies with each one of us to let him in.
“Jesus is knocking, knocking at the doors of our homes, knocking at the doors of our hearts,” Bishop Kulick said. “Your presence here shows that you have answered his call and you want to share your relationship with Jesus with other men who have answered that call. You want to establish a relationship with them and learn about their relationship with Christ, which can only strengthen your own relationship with the Lord.”
One man who answered the knock was St. Joseph – the spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the foster father of Jesus. Pope Francis declared this The Year of St. Joseph, marking the 150th anniversary of St. Joseph being declared the patron of the Universal Church.
THE WELL took place the day after the Solemnity of St. Joseph, who was the topic of discussion for the conference’s two featured speakers: Mike Aqulina of Bridgeville, an award-winning author of more than 50 books on Catholic history, and Benedictine Father Boniface Hicks, Director of Spiritual Formation at Saint Vincent Seminary, Latrobe.
“St. Joseph is the one person the church calls by the title, ‘The Worker,’ Aquilina explained. “His work was not biblical interpretation or preaching or teaching or philosophy or theology. Obviously, he was known for his work. God had chosen Joseph for the greatest mission ever … . He’s the earthly father of Jesus. ”
“St. Joseph is the man who lived closest to God for the longest time,” added Father Boniface. “(He was) called to be the father to the Son of God, an incredible vocation, a vocation beyond our imagination in some way and a vocation that makes him a great model for us as a man … . He wants to be a father for you, a friend for you, a model for you, a protector for you, so turn to him, ask him to help you.”
Strong testimony was offered by team members, with some of the most powerful coming from the late Michael Walker, organizer of the 2019 conference to whom this year’s conference was dedicated. Walker, who died in 2019 after a battle with brain cancer, was seen on taped footage from that year.
“You grow a little closer to God each day,” Walker said of his battle. “My faith rests in God. My trust is with him. I believe him. There are moments of doubt. There are moments when I’ll break down and cry. It’s not an easy thing to be told you’ll die soon, but I’m to do what every husband and father is to do, provide and protect. The lesson God is allowing me to learn is savor the moment.”
Team member Dan Lieberum, a parishioner of Blessed Sacrament Cathedral Parish, Greensburg, talked about the effect attendance at a retreat had on him.
“I had a deep, deep encounter with Jesus at that retreat,” Lieberum said. “When you have a band of brothers around you, you almost can’t put it into words how impactful it is. There is so much power in men coming together and just bearing honestly their struggles, their successes. It’s a beautiful thing to see men together in a men’s group just hold each other accountable, to be encouragement for one another.”
An in-person conference is scheduled for Sept. 25 at Christ Our Shepherd Center, Greensburg. Aquilina and Father Boniface are scheduled to speak, as well as Father Christopher Cuddy and Father Austin Litke, Dominicans from the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C.
Details about registration for the in-person conference will be forthcoming. Men who registered for the 2020 conference and want to remain for the in-person 2021 conference do not need to take any action.