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Hidden Gifts Coming Your Way: Weekly Message for 06-09-2020
Dear Fellow Digital Pilgrim, Pax Christi:
When I was twenty-three years old, I decided it was time to be confirmed in the Catholic Church. My conversion (from evangelical Christianity) had begun three years before. In my heart, I knew that during those three years the Lord had given me enough answers to my many questions about Catholicism – not all the answers, but enough answers. I knew that further delay would mean resisting the Holy Spirit. So I went to the pastor of my local Catholic parish (Fr. Tom) and told him I wanted to become a Catholic.
He put up both his hands, leaned back in his chair and told me: “Whoa!! Wait a minute! Do you know what you’re getting into?” That was the beginning of a series of conversations that led me to receive confirmation just a few months later, in December, 1991.
The Joy of Discovery
One thing Fr. Tom asked was whether I had been baptized. I told him I didn’t know. He told me I needed to find out. So I started doing research. My dad didn’t know. He told me that my mom (who had passed away when I was young) had “taken care of all that stuff.” I knew my mom’s family had been Episcopalian. So I visited all the Episcopalian churches in the area around Cleveland where my family lived when I was born. I asked permission to look through their baptismal registers.
Eventually, in the old, hand-written baptismal registry of Trinity Episcopal, I found my name. I had been baptized on June 16th, 1968. (The story comes to mind now because my baptismal anniversary is right around the corner.)
Discovering that previously unknown reality in my personal history filled me with delight and hope. God had been watching over me even then, giving me gifts even before I was aware of my own existence!
That’s how God is. He showers us with so many gifts. And as we go through life, we always find more gifts to discover. That’s what I hope you will find in our soon-to-be-released, newest Retreat Guide on Mary’s Immaculate Heart: The Fire and the Rose. We are all familiar with “The Immaculate Heart of Mary,” but hidden inside that doctrine are many, many gifts that can fill us with delight and hope, if we take some time to go a little bit deeper.
First-Ever Retreat Guide Premiere Event
Embracing the positive reactions we had from April’s “Retreat Guide Going Live” experience, we will be releasing this Retreat Guide in a live, online event on the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which falls on June 20th this year. It will be a “Live Retreat Guide Premiere”, so to speak. You can find out all about it here.
I am looking forward to connecting with you then, to unwrap some more of God’s many gifts to us, his beloved children. Until then, keep counting on our prayers. God bless you!
Yours in Him,
Fr John Bartunek, LC