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Turn to Jesus (Article)

Ancora Holy Week Convention 2007
The girls celebrated the Pascal mysteries and shared Christ’s love through missionary activities

Adoration before the altar of repose on Thursday night
Adoration before the altar of repose on Thursday night

Wakefield, RI, April 23, 2007. A record number of 123 junior high and high school aged girls attended this year’s annual Ancora Holy Week Convention at Immaculate Conception Academy, Wakefield, RI.

Ancora is an international club for Catholic girls aged 11-17. Its apostolic aim is to support the Holy Father and vocations. It helps members do this by building a deeper relationship with Christ and committing themselves with the evangelizing mission of the Church.

The Ancora members came to Wakefield to accompany Christ intimately during the Pascal mysteries and share this experience with as many people as possible. Palm Sunday kicked off with conferences on virtue formation and training for door to door missions. On Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday of Holy Week, the missionaries went door to door in groups at five local parishes, visiting more than 500 families and inviting them to take part in their local parish’s liturgical celebrations. Fr. John Halloran of St. Thomas More Church in Narragansett, Rhode Island, wrote of the missionaries in the following week’s
Knocking on doors in Wakefield
Knocking on doors in Wakefield, RI
parish bulletin, “What an inspiring witness from these Ambassadors of Christ. More than words, God radiated through them. They were the message…Their message was this, ‘Jesus Christ died for us. Celebrate these saving mysteries at Church this week.’ They dialogued with receptive and non-receptive alike. To all they told the joy of God’s love. To those who felt far removed from God, a gentle invitation to come back.”

 “We met a man who lives down the street (from the parish) and he didn’t even know it was Holy Week,” said Maggie Frommling of Ohio, a sophomore at Immaculate Conception Academy. Samantha Cox, a visitor from Nebraska, testified, “Many people don’t have Christ in their lives.  They don’t realize how much better their life would be with him. People (we met on missions) said they’re Catholic but hadn’t been to Mass in years.” One team of missionaries met a couple in a car by a stop sign. At the mention of Christ’s name, the wife began to cry.  Both were suffering from personal difficulties and needed to simply know that Christ was still with them.

The success went beyond chance meetings. After a morning of making rounds near St. Francis of Assisi parish in Wakefield, RI, the parish priest received two phone calls from fallen-away Catholics who wanted to make appointments for confession and register as parishioners. Missionaries had come to their doors and extended an invitation at the moment of grace.

In the afternoons, teams visited local nursing homes to give musical presentations and visit the residents room-by-room. Other teams organized Catholic Kids Net activities for the grade-school children of the parishes.

With so much evangelizing activity going on, the need for prayer was even more intense. Mass, morning meditation, gospel reflection time,
Missionaries enjoying Easter morning breakfast
Missionaries enjoying Easter morning breakfast
night prayers and benediction were offered to the visitors every day.  The school chaplain, Fr. Javier Fayos LC, as well as some visiting priests were available for confessions several hours each day. A full day retreat with Stations of the Cross was directed on Good Friday. Consecrated women of Regnum Christi were available for personal spiritual guidance during the week.

The highlight of the spiritual activity was the celebration of the Pascal mysteries in Immaculate Conception Academy, done with all the traditions and liturgical beauty the Church has handed down through the years. It began with the celebration of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday. After Mass, the Blessed Sacrament was removed from the chapel and reserved to an Altar of Repose. Students, staff, and visitors took adorations turns throughout the night, until the Good Friday celebration of the Lord’s Passion.  Easter joy was doubled the next day, with the celebration of both the Easter Vigil on Saturday night and Easter Morning Mass on Sunday.  During the Sunday Mass 20 teenagers incorporated into Regnum Christi and 33 more were incorporated into ECYD or promoted to another stage.

And as if that wasn’t enough, the missionaries enjoyed special visits from directors of the Regnum Christi Movement.  Fr. Joseph Burtka, LC, territorial director
Sharing joy with residents of an assisted living center near Peacedale, RI
Sharing joy with residents of an assisted living center near Peacedale, RI
of Regnum Christi for northeastern United States and Canada, came Holy Saturday to talk about the symbolism in Michelangelo’s “Pieta” and what it teaches us about Mary’s humility, self-giving and devotion to Christ. That same day, Monica Treviño, assistant to Fr. Joseph for the women’s branch of Regnum Christi, came to give a testimony of her vocation to consecrated life and her personal experience of Jesus Christ.

The Holy Week visitors, who had come from as far away as California and Western Canada, left with a renewed and invigorated faith, realizing that the Church depends on them to be apostles wherever they live. Many had also come to experience the atmosphere of Immaculate Conception Academy, a high school for discernment to consecrated life in the Regnum Christi Movement, and to see if God was calling them to return in the summer for a longer program.

Fr. John Halloran reminded the missionaries more
St  Francis of Assisi Church in Wakefield RI
St Francis of Assisi Church in Wakefield, RI
than once, “A powerful lesson learned is that we can never give to Christ without receiving back a hundredfold.” Elise Johnson, an eighth-grader visiting from Washington State, agreed, “Missions has taught me so much. It has taught me that so many people in the world don’t know that Christ loves them.” Now, 123 more young women are ready to bear witness that he does.



Related links web site
Mission Network
Our Lady of Bethesda Retreat Center and the Center for Family Development
Changing Hearts
Cancun-Chetumal Prelature
Helping Hands Medical Missions

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Sponsored by the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement, Copyright 2011, Legion of Christ. All rights reserved.

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