Members of the ESAG executive, Patricia Ballard, Ana Maria Pacheco, and Steve Knight, were up early on March 5th, 2016 to participate in the fifth annual One Conference which was held at the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre.
We were one of dozens of ministries along with more than one thousand Catholics of all ages from the Archdiocese who were gathered to celebrate God’s mercy in this Jubilee Year of Mercy. Everyone had the opportunity to listen to excellent speakers, visit exhibits to learn more about their missions, meet old friends and make new ones, attend Mass, and take a fresh look at what mercy means to the Church and the world.
Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, spoke about mercy as the most important message Jesus has for us and how do we live this mission of mercy in our lives. He outlined the four major goals for the Archdiocese in the coming year.
Briefly, they are as follows:
1. Make every Sunday matter more. The Eucharistic celebration should be reverent and beautiful, preaching should be relevant and understandable, and we need to find practical ways of bringing people who don’t know much about the Church to church.
2. Develop a personal relationship with the Lord.
The first evangelization is to know that we are loved by God.
Engage the energy of youth.
3. Strengthen marriages and family life and do more for separated and divorced Catholics.
4. Find more ways to develop leadership in parishes. Clergy and laity should work together.
After a break, Angele Regnier who, with her husband founded CCO, spoke on forgiveness. Using examples from her own life, she said that 90% of all problems in life stem from a lack of forgiveness. All forgiveness comes from Jesus Christ on the cross. We must forgive if we are to be free ourselves. It is the key to peace.
The next speaker, Ken Yasinski, founder of Face to Face Ministries, asked, “What is our goal? It is to be a saint.” He gave four principles on how to achieve this:
1. Sacred is now. Live in the present. It makes God’s grace present now.
2. Sacred is here. Do the next loving thing. Find holiness right where you are at that moment.
3. Sacred is for all. We can all be saints but it takes a lifetime. No one stumbles into sanctity. Make a choice for Jesus.
4. Sainthood trusts in God’s mercy. We are harder on ourselves than God is.
The final speaker of the day, Gwendoline Allison, spoke passionately about the current state of affairs in human trafficking. She is a lawyer who has written and presented on the implications of new laws tackling prostitution and human trafficking. She encouraged us to choose a focus for our volunteer work, learning how best to be of service to those we seek to lift up and then working in a concrete fashion to affect real and substantial change. She illustrated mercy in action and challenged us to act.
The Archbishop concluded the day with a beautiful celebration of the Mass.