By Frank Flegel

God is present in every moment of our lives; that was one of the messages heard by about 45 people working in youth ministry across Western Canada, gathered at the Double Tree Hotel here. Michelle Braden, Regina Archdiocese Youth Coordinator, identified the occasion as their annual gathering to hear inspirational speakers, discuss the business side of their organization, elect a new executive, and socialize. The election of new executive for the year was a scheduled part of their agenda.  

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 temporary diaconate in June and to the priesthood in 2019. He is doing his intern year at Regina’s Resurrection Parish where he is involved in all aspects of this large and busy parish. As keynote speaker 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 spoke from personal experience as he spent four months in hospital recovering from a vehicle accident and relied on his faith to get him through his ordeal. He now uses a wheelchair to get around.

The keynote speaker for the afternoon session was Deacon Joe Lang. He is a permanent Deacon in the Regina Archdiocese, and works as a consultant to the Regina Catholic School Board. Lang’s ministry includes working with youth. He told youth ministers that mentorship is tied up in many things; it’s tied up in 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 he asked his audience, “how 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 of the Church, it’s something they want to experience in the present. He played a clip from a Monty Python show, which few in the audience could understand, as an example of how you have to have common ground with people in order to mentor them. He encouraged the youth ministers to be out in the community and meet people where they are. He also reminded his audience that in giving, we receive.

The youth 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. Afterward, they had the opportunity to take part in the veneration of the St. Francis Xavier relic which was on display there.



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