Church Living a ‘Renaissance of Hope’

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6/20/2008

Deputy Supreme Knight Dennis A. Savoie greets Bishop Luis Antonio G. Tagle of Imus, the Philippines, after the bishop delivered a talk at the International Eucahristic Congress on June 19.

Knight Marcel Breton, a member of Council 10017 in Beauport, Que., is one of the hundreds of area Knights who are volunteering at the International Eucharistic Congress.

Breton was working security at the Colisée Pepsi, where the congress Masses are offered. He said he hoped congress attendees would share their beliefs with others. “People need to wake up,” he said. “The situation is difficult in the Church and society. People have got to have faith.”

The need to impart the faith to others, especially young people, was evident throughout the IEC. At the congress’ main exhibition hall, members of the Quebec State Council staffed a booth where they promoted a new faith formation program for young people called “Passages.”

The comprehensive curriculum is being funded jointly by the Quebec Knights and the Supreme Council at the request of the Quebec Bishops’ Conference. Prior to this year the government of Quebec allowed public schools to teach catechism to students. With that longstanding practice now outlawed, parishes must now develop catechesis programs for youths. The Knights are also working with the bishops to train teachers.

Youthful witness to the joyfulness of the Catholic faith took center stage during a presentation by members of Catholic Christian Outreach (CCO). The 20-year-old Canadian evangelization and leadership program engages Catholic college students to live their faith more deeply. Several CCO missionaries, including young Knights, delivered rousing talks about how they are practicing the faith in the sometimes hostile environment of secular university campuses.

CCO President Jeffrey Lockert, a member of Council 7873, said making Jesus relevant to young people where they are at the point in their lives was the goal of his organization.In addition, CCO trains young people to evangelize others. “When they become the future doctors, lawyers, teachers, parents, etc. they will bring their love of Christ to others,” he said.

CCO Founder Andre Regnier said the goal of CCO is to bring a young person back to the Church, but then to send him or her out as an evangelizer. There are currently 54 full-time CCO missionaries active on Canadian college/university campuses. Many of them receive funding and support from local Knights, Lockert said.

“There is much to be hopeful for,” Regnier told IEC participants. “We are living through a renaissance of hope in the Church.”