‘Faith can move mountains’: Come join the EWTN Family Celebration in Denver

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Families are invited to come and grow in faith as a family at the 2019 EWTN Family Celebration, coming to Denver Sept. 21.

From inspirational talks by EWTN TV and radio hosts to activities for the little ones in the family, this year’s celebration promises to be full of excitement and spiritual growth.

The celebration will be held at the University of Denver’s Magness Arena Saturday, Sept. 21 at no cost. Doors open at 8 a.m., and the event will conclude with Holy Mass celebrated by Bishop Jorge Rodriguez.

The theme of the event is “Faith can move mountains,” and headline speakers include Father Mitch Pacwa and Johnnette Benkovic.

Father Mitch Pacwa is the host of “EWTN Live” and “Scripture and Tradition.” Father Pacwa began hosting series for EWTN back in 1984. He was chosen by EWTN founder Mother Angelica to teach and share the Gospel during his appearance as a guest on “Mother Angelica Live” that same year. In the year 2000, he established Ignatius Productions, a Catholic media production apostolate, whose mission is to teach people the Sacred Scriptures, educate Catholics about their faith and promote unity and understanding within the Mystical Body of Christ. In addition to his work at EWTN, Father Pacwa also leads pilgrimages to and writes books about the Holy Land, and travels around the country to give retreats.

Johnnette Benkovic, host of EWTN’S radio and television show “Women of Grace,” will be sharing her testimony and presenting spiritual topics. In addition to her own television and radio shows, she is also a popular conference speaker, retreat master, and seminar presenter. She has written several books on topics including prayer and spirituality, authentic femininity, conversion and the dangers of new age movements.

Other presenters that will be part of this event will include Dr. Davis Anders, host of “Called Communion”; Fathers Agustino Torres, Angelus Montgomery, and Innocent Montgomery, hosts of “Icons”; as well as the Chairman and CEO Michael P. Warsaw, among others.

The host of the Family Celebration will be President of EWTN Doug Keck, who is well-known as host of “EWTN Bookmark” and many of the Global Catholic Network’s live events.

This event is for the whole family. Children will get to see and talk to some of their favorite characters from EWTN’s Kids Faith Factory and learn more about the faith in an interactive learning environment at the EWTN Kids Booth.

In addition, attendees will have the opportunity to spend time in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and go to confession during the family celebration.

For more information about the event, or to register your family, visit ewtn.com/familycelebration or call 1-800-447-EWTN (3986).

COMING UP: The shock of forgiveness

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Every so often, the media will pick up a story that serves as a potent reminder of what it means to be a Christian. That’s because living as a Christian in today’s post-Christian society is an unusual way of living, contrary to what the rest of society might say about it. It is not “outdated.” It is not “irrelevant.” It is radical, countercultural and, to some, even incomprehensible.

On Oct. 2, the trial of Amber Guyger came to a close. Guyger, a former Dallas police officer, was charged with the murder of Botham Jean, a 26-year-old man who lived in the same apartment complex as Guyger. On Sept. 6, 2018, she walked into Jean’s apartment, thinking it was hers, saw Jean sitting there on the couch, and after giving verbal commands, shot him twice, killing him. It was an absolute tragedy and played into the ongoing national conversation about police behavior toward people of color (Guyger is white; Jean is black).

What I want to focus on is a particular moment that came at the end of Guyger’s trial, after she had been sentenced to 10 years in prison. Jean’s younger brother Brandt took to the witness stand to address his brother’s killer directly. He wasn’t planning on saying anything during the trial but changed his mind at the last minute. A prompting of the Holy Spirit? I think yes, based on what happened next.

“I hope you go to God with all the guilt, all the bad things you may have done in the past,” Brandt told Guyger. “If you are truly sorry … I forgive you. If you go to God and ask him, he will forgive you.” He continued, “I’m not going to say I hope you die … I personally want the best for you … I don’t even want you to go to jail. I want the best for you, because I know that’s exactly what Botham would want … and the best would be: give your life to Christ. Giving your life to Christ would be the best thing that Botham would want you to do.”

But it didn’t stop there. Brandt was bold enough to ask the judge if he had permission to give Guyger a hug. He was granted it, and they embraced for over a minute, Guyger weeping into Brandt’s shoulder, just as some of us might do were we to be embraced by Christ.

Botham Jean’s younger brother Brandt Jean hugs former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger after delivering his impact statement to her in Dallas, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019. Guyger has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for killing her black neighbor in his apartment, which she said she mistook for her own unit one floor below. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via AP, Pool)

Brandt has every reason to hate Guyger. This woman gunned down his innocent brother who had his whole life ahead of him and was given a lighter sentence than what she originally faced. Those in the courtroom and watching on TV wouldn’t have been shocked to hear Brandt tell Guyger that he hopes she rots in hell. No, the shock from those in the courtroom – and subsequently, the rest of the nation – came when Brandt did the exact opposite.

With those words and the simple act of embracing his brother’s killer, Brandt gave the world an incredible witness to the forgiveness Christ calls us to live as Christians. Of course, you can count on the bickering voices of social media and pundits to take this powerful moment and exploit it for their own agenda, but that’s because many of them don’t understand. It is not normal in our culture to forgive. It is also not easy. And that’s what makes witnessing something like this so shocking. It was not supposed to happen, but it did. It defied every expectation. Make no mistake about it: Brandt was living his call to be more like Christ in that moment. And it is exactly this moment – this shocking moment – that we are able to get a glimpse of what it is to be a Christian.

Following Jesus does make for quite a shock. And it is that shock that we are called to bring to the rest of the world, just as Brandt Jean did.