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Catholic Convocation Inspires, Energizes Ministers

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“Fulfill your ministry” (2Timothy 4:5), was the theme of the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge’s homily at the Diocesan Convocation Mass celebrated Saturday, October 24 at Saint Raphael Church in Raleigh.  Some 300 attended the annual gathering, which is held for everyone involved in any form of ministry in the Diocese.

“We must always keep learning,” Bishop Burbidge said, noting that to fulfill their ministry, those who minister must be pupils, prophets and pray-ers who study the Word of the Lord, teach and proclaim it with clarity and compassion and above all commit themselves to prayer. “Prayer,” the Bishop said, “shows your conviction that when we entrust our efforts to the Lord, He will produce fruit in a way and at a time we can never imagine.”

The Most Reverend Gerald F. Kicanas, Bishop of Tucson, also addressed that theme, noting in his talk that “The Word of God comes through us.” He spoke of the importance of taking time out of our busy lives to sit in silence, a practice encouraged by all schools of spiritual teaching.

Bishop Kicanas, who serves as Vice President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, observed the importance of gatherings such as the Convocation where ministers can “step aside together” to share, to be enriched and to become re-invigorated.  Reflecting on the fact that many homes have Bibles but that so many people lack basic knowledge of the Bible, he said, “It’s important to realize how important it is for our people to know the Word,” adding, “We are a people of the Book.”

Bishop Kicanas spoke of four “generations” of Catholics: Pre-1940; Vatican II; Post-Vatican II; and the Millennial Catholics born after 1980, which he called the most challenging for those in ministry. He observed the Millennials’ lack of trust in all institutions, adding, “It’s in that climate we have our challenge to spread the Word.”

Bishop Kicanas also discussed the importance for those involved in ministry to stay focused: “Remember,” he said, “that  you are called and chosen. If you keep that in mind, you will never lose focus.”

Other major Convocation presenters included Mr. Pedro Rubalcava and Mrs. Donna Glaser. Mr. Rubalcava, who provided the Spanish keynote, is currently Director of Hispanic Ministries for the Oregon Catholic Press. Mrs. Glaser, who opened the Convocation Friday evening, is a recipient of the National Catholic Education Association’s Religious Education Excellence Award.

At the conclusion of the Convocation Mass, Sr. Rose Marie Adams, I.H.M., presented the Mary Dowling Master Catechist of the Year Award to Sr. Barbara Marie Cady, S.U.  Sr. Barbara Marie serves as pastoral associate at Infant of Prague Church in Jacksonville. She serves as Deanery Coordinator for the New Bern Deanery, an advocate for the Tribunal, chair of the Council of Religious Women and director of Stephen Ministry at her parish.

The Catechist of the Year recognition is named after the late Mary Dowling, who held numerous positions in the Diocese of Raleigh, including Director of the Diocesan Faith Formation Department. The award is presented annually to a Master Catechist who exemplifies a commitment to excellence in catechesis and a dedication to service.

Above: Sr. Rose Marie Adams, IHM, Sr. Barbara Marie Cady, SU, and Bishop Michael F. Burbidge following presentation of Mary Dowling Master Catechist of the Year Award to Sr. Barbara Marie.