REGINA -- God is present in every moment of our lives: that was one of the messages heard by some 45 people working in youth ministry across Western Canada gathered in Regina Jan. 11 -- 13. Michelle Braden, Regina Archdiocese Youth co-ordinator, identified the occasion as their annual gathering to hear inspirational speakers, discuss the business side of their organization, elect a new executive, and socialize.
Parker Love was the keynote speaker for the morning session. He is in his fifth year as a seminarian and expects to be ordained to the transitional diaconate in June and to the priesthood in 2019. He is serving his internship at Regina's Resurrection Parish, where he is involved in all aspects of ministry.
His message was of recognizing God's presence in our lives, especially in times of suffering. He described how, "If you want to see God, you have to love him in all of those moments." Love was speaking from personal experience, having spent four months in hospital recovering from a vehicle accident, relying on his faith to get him through the ordeal. He now relies a wheelchair to get around.
The keynote speaker for the afternoon session was Deacon Joe Lang, a permanent deacon in the archdiocese and a consultant to the Regina Catholic School Board. His ministry includes working with youth.
He told the youth ministers that mentorship is tied up in many things: our sense of leadership, who we are, who we are called to be. "We have God, we have Jesus, and we have people in our community who seem to be leaders all the time. We have questions now," he said, "in this time of fake news. What does it all mean?"
Lang wondered why we don't trust anyone anymore, and asked, "Hw do we take this message of Christ that is burning within our hearts with the passion of the Holy Spirit and try to make it something that people see within themselves?"
He went on to say that what people are looking for is not in Scripture or the catechism; it's something they want to experience in the present. He encouraged the ministers to be out in the community to meet people where they are.
The group ended their gathering on Saturday evening by attending a mass at Resurrection Church, where Archbishop Donald Bolen was the celebrant, followed by a banquet.