By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer
Nearly 150 people, including 40 youth, from the Archdiocese of Louisville gathered at the Catholic Enrichment Center for the 31st Annual African American Day of Reflection April 5.
The theme of the day-long assembly was “The New Evangelization: Continuing Our Conversion Journey.”
Participants from a number of parishes including St. Martin de Porres, Christ the King, St. Augustine, Immaculate Heart of Mary, St. Ignatius Martyr, St. Bartholomew, St. Rita and Holy Rosary in Manton, Ky., took part in the event.
Prior to the day’s activities, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz celebrated Mass next door at St. Martin de Porres Church, 3112 W. Broadway.
In his homily, the archbishop said that while a lot of people may be sleeping in “on this Saturday morning, you and I are where we are supposed to be.
“We don’t know how the Lord is going to be speak to us today. We never do when we get up in the morning. … It’s not the question of whether he is going to speak, it is the question of whether we are going to listen,” he said.
Archbishop Kurtz noted that while we are not to be pushy or overbearing, we are called to share the Catholic faith.
“If you are the mother or father or the grandmother or grandfather of a young person, the closer you are to that young man or young woman the better chance you have to have a positive effect on their lives,” he said. “The farther you are, error increases.”
He said in order to share the Catholic faith, those gathered needed to deepen their own faith.
“We have to have confidence in ourselves, we have to have confidence in the Gospel of Jesus Christ … that the Good News of Jesus Christ can stir and change hearts,” he said.
The archbishop urged those gathered to join him the following day at the Big Four Bridge where Interfaith Paths to Peace hosted a walk to bring peace to the community. That event was organized after the wave of youth violence on and near the bridge two weeks ago.
“I don’t mean to minimize the personal responsibilities of the people who did wrong,” he said. “But what I am saying is that everyone one of us both contributes to the good and if we don’t do anything we contribute to the bad.
“I’m talking about the responsibilities of the family. I’m talking about responsibilities of the church, of parishes, of archbishops. All of us. And if we choose to do nothing than whose fault is it?” he said.
The archbishop then recalled the Gospel reading of Nicodemus who had a sincere heart but wasn’t steeped in courage.
“We ask the Lord today to be patient with us if we are Nicodemus on the fence, because our hearts are good and we want to help,” he said. “But Lord especially, make us John the Baptist. Make us people who have consciences and who follow those consciences, who know it’s right to stand up for what is right.
“Lord, with that power we will not only vanish violence in our community, but we can walk on a pathway to heaven,” Archbishop Kurtz said.
Following Mass, participants were invited to listen to talks titled “Why Catholic? Enhancing Your Knowledge About Your Faith,” “How Welcoming Are We?” and
“Young Adults: How to Reach Them, Keep Them and How to Engage Them.” There also were workshops for children and youth called “Let the Little Children Come” and “I Don’t Know What I Don’t Know.”
Father John Judie, pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary and Christ the King churches, delivered the day’s keynote address.