Each year I have the wonderful opportunity to attend the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, a convention for Catholic educators. This is my favorite event all year. Imagine 40,000 people, wanting to learn more about their Catholic faith and advance in personal growth!
I attend the convention for my company, St. Anthony Messenger Press. My job is to help set up the booth, assist people with questions regarding our products and wear a smile at all times (which is easy to do). I have to admit the days are long and my feet are killing me by the end of the first day, but the sheer joy of being with our customers and seeing God’s love at work is simply amazing. The first time I attended the show I was speaking to a newly ordained priest (I will call him Fr. Joe) when a large young man approached us wanting to speak with Fr. Joe.
The young man wanted to know how long Fr. Joe had been ordained and why he wanted to become a priest. It was then that I witnessed God’s love at work. In our booth, one person grew to be two then four. More people gathered around Fr. Joe as he described his calling to become a priest and answered the young people’s questions. It was a beautiful moment watching these kids relate to Fr. Joe.
Three years later when I think about how special that moment was for me I get goose bumps down my arm. I have to wonder if Fr. Joe and those kids know what a blessing that time was together. Fr. Joe’s charisma and this special moment remind me of this Bible quote:
“I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them” (John 17:26).
Speaking of traveling; check out one of our new books Travelers Along the Way, The Men and Women Who Shaped My Life by Benedict J. Groeschel, C.F.R. Fr. Benedict shares personal stories–always moving, sometimes surprising and sometimes hilarious–about the men and women who’ve influenced him over the course of his life. All of the stories are touching and inspiring. Maybe Travelers Along the Way will help you appreciate those who, over the years, have enriched your own life much as Fr. Joe did, even for a moment, in my life.