Annual revival participants urged to “keep their eyes fixed and focused on Jesus” in times of distress – Catholic Standard


Harsh times, especially the hardships of the past 18 months, can be endured when the faithful turn to Jesus, take the time to listen to him and trust his healing power, the preacher said during the annual revival of Jesus. fall east of the river on October 4. .

“We have to get away from the crowds… to eliminate these distractions around us, to remove all the voices that bombard us and that we have to face, and we have to spend time with Jesus,” said Father Robert Boxie III, the preacher. to rebirth. “We have to go straight to the master. He wants to be with you. He wants to teach you.

The 32sd the annual revival was held at St. Luke Catholic Church in Washington, DC, and was webcast on various social media platforms. Over 100 people attended the revival in person while nearly 500 people participated via the Internet. In accordance with the District of Columbia’s COVID-19 safety regulations, those in attendance wore masks. They were also seated socially distanced throughout the church.

“Go back to the sacraments, go back to the Eucharist, go back to confession,” said Father Boxie. “Our Lord wants to touch us and heal us. We can return to the house of God to receive that total healing that we need, to be nourished spiritually.

“It seems like everywhere we turn there’s something else going on that we have to face, that gets us on edge, that makes us a little more anxious… but we thank God for still being here today. “, did he declare. “The Word of God is the word of hope. “

Father Robert Boxie III, chaplain to Catholic students and staff at Howard University and priest in residence at the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, preaches during the October 4 revival east of the Fall River. He exhorted those present at the revival to “return to the sacraments, return to the Eucharist, return to confession”. (CS photo by Andrew Biraj)

A native of Lake Charles, Louisiana, Father Boxie is the chaplain to Catholic students and staff at Howard University and the priest-in-residence at the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC Ordained in 2016, he previously served as parish vicar at St. Joseph Parish in Largo, Maryland. Before entering the seminary, he taught English as a second language in France and worked as a lawyer.

The deanery parishes of the southeastern district and several neighboring communities in Maryland hosted the annual event with the theme “In the Middle of It All”.

Father Boxie told the story of Gospel of Saint Mark (5: 25-34) in which Jesus healed the woman who had suffered from blood loss for 12 years and who touched her mantle to be healed, was a fitting analogy for what people are facing now.

“This woman is all of us right now. This woman is you. This woman is me, “he said.” This woman, this daughter of God, is focused on one thing: she wants to be healed. She was alone, she was isolated, she was broke, she was probably homeless Looks familiar She was sick and tired being sick and tired.

He said that the suffering woman in the Gospel story is an example for Catholics today.

“She heard the reports of Jesus and what he was doing. She saw what was going on and she knew he was a different person, ”he said. “The woman followed Jesus. She had her eyes fixed on the Lord. We need to keep our eyes focused on Jesus. We have to get behind Him to follow Him.

Father Boxie noted that the theme “In the middle of it all” of awakening “is an amazing theme … it’s been 18 months of hell”.

The priest listed some of the events people have endured recently: the COVID-19 pandemic “which has changed every aspect of our lives; »The resulting financial insecurity; the death of George Floyd and other accounts of police brutality; dealing with the “overdue racial calculation”; »Storms, hurricanes and natural disasters; “An election season like no other; “The horror and shame” of the January 6, 2021 assault on the United States Capitol; divisions in national politics and rhetoric; social media pressures; and “the high rates of violence in our streets and neighborhoods and our children killing each other”.

Suffering, says Father Boxie, “must lead us to Jesus”.

“Our suffering is nothing more than a part of the Passion of the Lord,” he said. “The suffering we now endure is an opportunity to draw closer – to unite more closely – to Jesus Christ. Suffering can be an act of faith that we trust.

A woman prays during the October 4 revival. Over 100 people attended the event in person and nearly 500 more followed on various internet platforms. (CS photo by Andrew Biraj)

Referring again to Saint Mark’s account of the woman healed by Jesus, Father Boxie said, “The woman shows us what to do with this suffering – bring it to Jesus. He’s the only one we can count on.

He said the woman was healed because of her faith in Jesus. “This is the beauty of faith – it compels my Jesus to act. Jesus responds to faith. God can do anything, but He won’t do anything without my permission. With faith, God works. Faith brings forth the power of all mighty God. Faith is like an extension that draws the power from Jesus.

He urged those who witnessed the revival and those who followed via the Internet to “make an effort to listen to the Lord.”

“How do you listen? We need to bring silence back to our lives, ”he said. “God speaks to us in silence. Take off the headphones, my brothers and sisters, take out the headphones. Silence is this total availability to God. It is not simply the absence of speech, but the fullness of the presence of God.

He joked that people may not like to be silent before God because “we are afraid to hear. God might ask us something… we might have to change our life.

Because “a lot of things compete for our attention, and we live in a very exhibitionist, very performative culture,” Father Boxie said while listening to Jesus “we have to get down on our knees. We must take time for Jesus in prayer. We must come in his presence, sit down before the Blessed Sacrament.

Father Boxie also urged those present at the revival to “create a culture of vocations in the black community” because “the best decision I have made in my whole life was to answer the call of God”. He said it was time to “claim our vocation in our community” and to pray for, encourage and support “our young men and women to serve the Church as priests and religious”.

“We must seriously examine and ask ourselves: ‘What do we contribute to the Blessed Mother the Church in the gift of our sons and daughters?’ “, did he declare. “The Church needs them. The Church cries out for them.

Referring to the theme of revival, Father Boxie said, “In the midst of all of this, I will listen to the voice of my Lord. In the midst of all of this, I will listen to the voice of Jesus. In the midst of it all, I will always be behind Jesus. In the midst of all of this, I will believe in Him with all the fiber of my being. In the midst of it all, I’ll hold on to Him.

Father Boxie prayed that revival would be a time of “special outpouring of the Holy Spirit” and “a time of revival, renewal and renewal”.

Noting that “this revival dates back to 32 years,” Father Raymond Moore, pastor of St. Thomas More Catholic Church, greeted the crowd by saying, “I don’t know what you came to do, but I came. praise the Lord.

Father Joséphite Cornelius Kelechi Ejiogu, pastor of St. Luke Parish in Washington, DC, welcomes participants to the October 4 revival east of the Fall River held at his church. “We come today to thank you, Lord. Today we come to give thanks because you are the source of our lives, ”he said. (CS photo by Andrew Biraj)

In his opening prayer, Father Joséphite Cornelius Kelechi Ejiogu, parish priest of Saint-Luc parish, said: “We come today to thank you, Lord. Today we come to give you thanks because you are the source of our lives.

“In the midst of all trials and tribulations… Lord, you bring us hope, you bring healing, you bring us and you bring us the peace that only you can give us, a peace that surpasses all human understanding”, a he prayed. “We come together tonight to thank you and ask you to uplift us so that we can know you, love you, and continue to serve you every day of our lives.”

In addition to prayer and preaching, the revival included sacred music and dances.

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