Dr. Gerardo Salazar sings and plays guitar at the opening of a Spanish-language session at the “Living a Eucharistic Life as Missionary Disciples” conference in Owensboro on Oct. 22, 2022. ELIZABETH WONG BARNSTEAD | WKC
Bilingual conference forms parishioners, staff for intentional discipleship
BY ELIZABETH WONG BARNSTEAD, THE WESTERN KENTUCKY CATHOLIC
On Oct. 22, 2022, a bilingual parish ministry and leadership conference was held at the Owensboro Convention Center, welcoming parishioners, volunteers, catechists, parish council members, pastors and staff.
The conference, titled “Living a Eucharistic Life as Missionary Disciples,” was hosted by the Diocese of Owensboro and spearheaded by Dr. Jeff Andrini, director of the Office of Evangelization and Discipleship. It offered English and Spanish keynotes and tracks, featuring Sherry Weddell; Dr. Gerardo Salazar; Dr. Dora Tobar; Sal Della Bella; Sr. Cheryl Clemmons, OSU; and Dr. Tad Dickel.
The day, which drew approximately 136 registrants, kicked off with a bilingual morning Mass, presided over by Bishop William F. Medley. In his homily, which was given in English and translated into Spanish by Dcn. Chris Gutiérrez standing beside him at the pulpit, the bishop said that belief in the Eucharist is “a profound act of faith.”
“One can only come to the Eucharist with faith… encountering Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, our brother and friend,” said Bishop Medley. “Christ keeps his promises he made at the Last Supper when he told his disciples ‘Do this in remembrance of me.’”
The conference had been preceded with a parish staff training workshop the day before, held at the McRaith Catholic Center, the pastoral center of the Diocese of Owensboro.
During the workshop, which was led by Weddell and drew 71 in-person and 10 parish groups via livestream, the participants learned how larger culture affects evangelization; how to recognize the stages of another’s spiritual journey; how to have spiritual conversations with people of all religious backgrounds or none; the first hopeful signs of change in a parish; and the practical first steps parish leaders take when setting out to make their communities a center of discipleship.
Originally printed in the November 2022 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.