'An inspiring spiritual experience'

-A A +A

Posted: Fri., May 15, 2015

William Cone

Since the ChristLife program began appearing in local parishes more than a year ago, participants have enthusiastically spread the word about how it has drawn them closer to God.

As a way to further promote the program, a ChristLife Discovering Christ Conference is planned June 12-13 in the Family Life Center at St. Thomas More Parish in Bethel Park.

Even though the conference is sponsored by Catholic Men’s Fellowship of Pittsburgh, men and women are being invited to receive comprehensive ChristLife training to take it to their parish, small group or organization.

CMF is kicking off this new initiative in advance of its 10th Annual Gathering of Catholic Men, set for Sept. 19 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Downtown Pittsburgh.

ChristLife, founded in 1995 in response to St. John Paul II’s call for a new evangelization — one of many similar programs in the Diocese of Pittsburgh — consists of three courses: Discovering Christ, Following Christ and Sharing Christ.

The goal of Discovering Christ is to help participants enter into or renew a personal relationship with Jesus Christ; experience the Father’s love; and be empowered by the Holy Spirit to serve as his disciples in the Catholic Church.

The initial course includes prayer, sharing a meal, a video presentation and small-group discussion. All course materials and videos are provided by ChristLife.

The Discovering Christ course was presented during Lent at St. Sebastian Parish in Ross Township, and Father John Rushofsky, pastor, gave it a big thumbs-up.

“Our ChristLife team worked tirelessly to assemble a group of 175 parishioners and others, which more than filled our available space,” he said. “Together they set out on a journey that I think surprised all of them and us.”

The feedback he received from participants was “so powerful that they would make any pastor sit up and take notice.”

St. Sebastian is scheduled to complete the Following Christ and Sharing Christ phases before the end of the year.

Lou Reda said he began ChristLife facilitator training at his parish, St. Gabriel in Whitehall, thinking he was going to help others become better followers of Christ. He didn’t realize how much it was going to affect him.

“I was blown away by how much I changed and became closer to Christ. It was an inspiring spiritual experience,” he said about the course presented during Lent.

“I got to meet people in the parish that I have seen but never met, learned that other people have questions and struggles with their faith, and enjoyed hearing the ups and downs of others’ spiritual journeys. “I recommend the course to anyone who wants to grow closer to Christ and enrich their lives,” Reda said.

The conference is planned for 6:30-9 p.m. June 12 and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. June 13, with a follow-up webinar June 17 from 7-8:30 p.m.

Suggested donation for the conference is $45 per person. Anyone who can’t afford the cost will be admitted for less. Admission will be free for clergy and consecrated religious.

Registration information for the conference can be found at www.cmfpitt.org, or call Pete Diulus at 412-638-0662, Mark Joseph at 412-861-3433 or Jim Zern at 412-818-3226.