I first met with Fr. Stephen Moerman, the Pastor of St. Isaac Jogues Catholic Parish, back in November about giving a talk on St.Therese at the parish. He approved of my topic, “St. Therese and the Year of Faith”, and said that it would work well for the talk to be incorporated into the weekly Adult Faith Formation Series. The leaders of the the series suggested two dates for the talks – January 6th and January 8th. I eagerly anticipated kicking off the New Year speaking about my favorite topic.
Bill Cosby used to joke that he had to “walk to school in the snow uphill – both ways!” Well, I couldn’t brag about my difficult journey to St. Isaac’s on January 6th to give the St. Therese talk; the sun shone brightly, my home is only a short distance from the parish, and I don’t think it is uphill – either way!
After our not-so-difficult journey, Maria and I arrived at the parish 20 minutes early to set up. The talk was to take place in the Video Room with many attendees sitting on couches and the remainder sitting on chairs that were set up in a semi-circle around the podium. My framed picture of St. Therese was displayed in a prominent place. The artist who created this beautiful representation of Therese used the technique of Pointillism where many distinct dots are applied to form an image. This technique was employed by such great artists as Seurat, Signac, and Vincent van Gogh. Unfortunately, my particular picture had none of the aforenamed signatures on it!
I commenced the talk by giving the account of my own faith journey including how the Lord first touched my life in high school, about my conversion to Catholicism at age 20, and about the evolution of my devotion to St. Therese and my desire to teach about her Little Way. I proceeded to give the Holy Father’s vision for the Year of Faith in the Church and explain how St. Therese could be incorporated into this vision. Next, St. Therese’s own faith journey was discussed with a particular emphasis on faith challenges that she experienced. Lastly, I discussed four of the areas that the Pope suggested that Catholics focus upon in the Year of Faith – the Catechism, Holy Scripture, confession, and the Holy Eucharist – and then described how St. Therese lived out each in her own life. The presentation concluded with a question and answer time. The attendees asked many excellent questions and I surprised myself when I got a little choked up when answering one question about Therese’s sublime death.
The second talk on January 8th took place in the much larger Parish Hall. We mingled with some of the attendees as they got refreshments. Because this Tuesday session of the Adult Faith Formation Series was offered for those who could not attend the Sunday session, I gave the exact same talk to this new group. It was a bonus that Fr. Moerman was able to attend. Of course I had more pressure to be on my game.
This group had equally incisive questions and even Fr. Moerman asked if I could give a summary of the Little Way “just to put you on the spot!” They even asked a few questions about my personal faith journey.
I thoroughly enjoyed giving these two talks on St. Therese at St. Isaac Jogues and I am very grateful to Fr. Moerman for giving me the opportunity. Please visit the Events Page on the website to see video clips from the talk. I eagerly await the next opportunity to share my love of St. Therese.