We all know March in Minnesota carries some unexpected weather. But the extreme wintry conditions didn’t stop a group of about 100 from attending our parish mission from March 12-15.
Deacon Ralph Poyo of New Evangelization Ministries led the four nights of talks on the various topics — God’s Saving Plan; Spiritual Warfare; Living in the Holy Spirit; and Grounded in Discipleship.
Fr. Paul Timmerman was pleased with the fantastic turnout. Many parishioners had cleared their calendars to attend. There were even some non-Catholics in attendance. About half of the participants signed up to be in small groups to continue exploring the content of the mission and their faith for six weeks.
Those in attendance shared some of their thoughts on what they learned and took away from the mission experience.
“The mission made me aware of how we are each at a different place in our faith journey,” says Pat Craigmile, St. Joseph parishioner. “The more we know or have experienced, the more we desire. God will continue to reveal Himself as long as we are open to the Holy Spirit.”
“The mission evenings at St. Joseph’s presented many points of our Catechism that I did not know or had forgotten over the years,” says Steve Marihart, St. James parishioner. “The importance of confession and the effect of sin on our soul was worth learning again.”
Importantly, the mission was relatable for attendees of all ages.
“I liked the way he got right down to everyone’s heart in a different way,” says Eddie, a 12-year-old St. James parishioner.
“I liked the water-pouring demonstration showing how we need to keep graces flowing into us by going to Reconciliation frequently,” says David, 9, from St. James.
Eddie and David were both impressed by how Deacon Ralph Poyo wore chains on one of the evenings to show how the devil binds us when we sin and keeps hold of one end of the chain so he can control us.
St. James parishioner Burt Hendrickson learned that we may ward off the devil through daily prayer, Scripture study, and the Holy Eucharist. He also was reminded of the importance of Reconciliation.
“We must keep our hearts open and available to receive graces and inspiration from the Holy Spirit,” he says. “The gate closes with mortal sin, but can be opened via the Sacrament of Reconciliation.”
St. James parishioner Rosemary Hendrickson appreciated learning more about the Mass.
“It was a wonderful reminder of the amazing gift God has given us in the Eucharist and inspired me to greater devotion,” she says.
The mission allowed Kim Rupp, a St. Andrew’s parishioner, to look at church teachings in a new and fresh way.
“There were so many points that Deacon Ralph Poyo mentioned that were meaningful,” Kim says. “I learned a few things, had a new way of looking at some things, and he also solidified some concepts for me that I hadn’t fully grasped.”
Ultimately, the mission touched Art Rillo’s heart in many ways.
“Besides being an excellent and captivating speaker, the message to me that he delivered was clear,” says Art, a parishioner at St. Andrew’s. “He made it clear that Heaven was not a physical place, but a state where we strive to be in God’s grace for eternity. He showed what it meant to be in a state of grace and connected the dots of how using the sacraments gives us the tools to be in a state of grace and connect with the Holy Spirit.”
We thank all of those who attended the parish mission this past March!