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7-CHRIS-STEFANICK

Join the revolution, US speaker tells young Catholics

A popular Catholic keynote speaker and writer from the US has urged Scotland’s Catholic youth to ‘join in the revolution’ and stand up for their Faith. - BY AMANDA CONNELLY

Chris Stefanick, an American Catholic who gives motivational talks on the Catholic Faith, touched down last week, for what was his first visit to Scotland, to host REBOOT! Live! in Glasgow University’s Bute Hall.

Catholics young and old flocked in their hundreds to hear from the popular speaker on Thursday July 27. He delivered talks to expectant crowds on their relationship with Jesus and how to carry this out in their daily lives.

“I think whenever there’s a call to re-centre ourselves on that foundational message of the Gospel, that is an invitation to live in a relationship with Jesus Christ,” Mr Stefanick told the SCO following the event.

“When that call is given and heard, it renews people’s lives and it renews the Church; it re-energises the Church around why we’re doing all this.”

REBOOT! Live! Glasgow was the culmination of six months’ preparation by outreach teams, who had been raising awareness in the lead-up to the event and meeting people ‘at grassroots level’—friends inviting friends and family members inviting people along that hadn’t been to church in a long time.

The efforts of Mr Stefanick and the outreach teams paid off with a large turnout, and the American says some lapsed Catholics who attended the event have now decided to return to the Faith.

“I gave five talks in the UK, and every single one I heard stories of people who said they had fallen away from the Church, and decided at our event to come back home to the Church, and that also happened in Glasgow,” Mr Stefanick said.

“If I only heard that one time for my three weeks in the UK, that would’ve been worth the trip across the ocean. One human being moved closer to God is worth more than anything.”

The former parish youth minister also encouraged young people to be proud of their Faith, and to be joyful about the Gospel teaching and the relationship they have with God.

“Not only does the Church not make sense outside of a relationship with Jesus, our own lives make no sense outside that relationship,” he said. “I think we have a generation of young people who are forgetting who they are and what life is about.

“There was a study done in the UK recently that found that 22 per cent of young girls had considered taking their lives.

“If we forget God, we forget the whole point of life. I think that we as Catholics have the answer. We have the best news in history: God’s revealed the purpose of our whole existence, and I think that as a Church we need to get re-excited and happy and joyful about that again.”

He also spoke of the need for today’s youth to stand up for their Faith and be themselves.

“You have to make a decision to be joyful about it,” he said. “The entire world’s constantly telling you to be yourself, and this world has no idea who they are anymore. It doesn’t take much observation to see that this world is severely lacking in hope and joy.

“When the world says be yourself, suddenly we’re shy about being who we are in public. It doesn’t take many people to say ‘that’s ridiculous, I’m going to be myself too—I’m going to be joyful about it and I’m going to be open about it.

“I’m not going to be pushy, but I’m just going to be myself.’

“The more people that make the decision to do that even when it’s awkward, the more it becomes the norm for Catholics to be themselves again too.

“I would say, be part of the revolution: we need you—the world needs you.”

Mr Stefanick spoke of his ‘honour’ at being in ‘beautiful’ Scotland, and the wonderful impression he got of the people there.

“There’s a real warmth and genuine spirit about the people in general, and that was certainly true even more so of the Catholics that I met,” he said.

“I know that the Church in the UK has been through a lot in the past ten years, but there’s a spirit that can’t be conquered in the people, and they just need permission to be joyful again about why they’re Catholics in the first place and why their ancestors converted from Pagan faith to Catholicism 1,600 years ago.”

The inspirational speaker also hoped to see Catholics more generally show who they really are in the face of negative impressions the world has of the Church.

“I think we have a world that would label Catholicism as a Church defined by issues or politics, or a certain moral teaching or two,” Mr Stefanick said.

“I think the world forgets, and we also forget, that we’re the Church of the Gospel message and the Church of the love story.

“When we remember that, all the rest makes sense—the things we do politically, the things we do, the things we teach morally, the theology all of it. It only makes sense in the context of love.”

 

– See Mr Stefanick’s website at: www.reallifecatholic.com

 

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