Stay spiritually enriched with one of these upcoming virtual events

Aaron Lambert

While Colorado may not be completely shut down any more, the “safer-at-home” order still means just that.

What this means is that while many events are no longer happening in-person, thanks to the wonders of the internet and platforms such as Zoom and Facebook Live, event organizers have pivoted to virtual gatherings for people to participate in from the comfort of their homes.

The good news is this means that several upcoming Catholic retreats and events will still be happening virtually. Here are a few that you won’t want to miss.

Catholic LOVELIFE Conference
Available nationwide May 22 – 24

Register: Click here

Jason and Crystalina Evert’s Chastity Project will be hosting the virtual Catholic LOVELIFE Conference May 22 – 24. More than 70 speakers will offer free, short, and impactful presentations for teens, young adults, singles, married couples, and parents. In addition to tuning into the conference for free anytime from 12 p.m. EST Friday to midnight Sunday, participants can also purchase a premium pass to gain ongoing on-demand access to the talks.

Endow Holy Spirit Conference
Saturday, May 30, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. PST
Register:
https://endow-groups.myshopify.com/pages/holy-spirit-conference

Stared in Denver, Endow is an international apostolate that specializes in facilitating women’s small groups and helping women to tap into the full potential of their “feminine genius” which St. John Paul II wrote about. Consequently, the Holy Spirit Conference is being held to celebrate the occasion St. John Paul II’s 100th birthday, which was May 18. The conference is being held in solidarity with the Dar Na (“gift for”) Project in Poland and Endow hopes it “will be a place of inspiration, encounter and renewal for you as you listen, pray, exchange interactions and discern the Holy Spirit’s next power-filled move in your life.”

Catholic Women’s Conference
Saturday, June 20, 8 a.m. – 5:15 p.m.
Register:
https://denvercatholicconference.com/women/

The 4th annual Catholic Women’s Conference of Denver was supposed to happen March 28, but they were able to shift to a virtual conference that’s now taking place June 20. This all-day conference will feature a variety of speakers, including Father Nick Larkin, Sandy Wanzeck, Dr. Michael Barber, Everett Fritz, Dr. Elizabeth Klein, and more.

Camp Wojtyla’s Camp At Home
June 28 – July 3

Register: http://www.camp-w.com/campathome

Even though Camp Wojtyla was forced to cancel all of their summer programming this year, they’ve found a way to bring the adventure to you. Their Camp-at-Home program will feature six days of various activities that you and a team of up to 10 people can do from home. The best part? People from all over the nation can sign up. For more details and to register, click the link above.

Steubenville Live
July 17 – 18

More info: https://steubenvilleconferences.com/

The Steubenville of the Rockies conference that takes place every summer is hands-down the biggest Catholic youth event in Denver. While it’s extremely disappointing that youth from the region won’t be able to gather as they normally would, Steubenville is putting together a virtual event set for July 17 – 18 that you won’t want to miss. The details are still being worked out, but stay updated by clicking the link above and subscribing to their e-communications.

COMING UP: St. Benedict’s wisdom for our times 

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“Let us get up then, at last, for the Scriptures rouse us,” the Rule of St. Benedict urges us. “Let us open our eyes to the light … and our ears to the voice from heaven that every day calls out. … ‘If you hear his voice today, do not harden your hearts’” (Ps 95:8). On July 11 the Church observes the memorial of St. Benedict, and his words from 1,500 years ago seem perfectly fitting for our challenging and changing times.

The Rule of St. Benedict was written some time around 530, a time when the Roman Empire had collapsed and Christianity’s existence in Europe was threatened. Given our current cultural situation and its parallels with his time, I believe we can find fruit in St. Benedict’s teachings.

Saint Benedict grew up surrounded by a culture that was morally corrupt but with the grace of God lived a virtuous life. After spending some time in Rome for studies, he fled its moral decadence to pursue a more solitary life. St. Benedict lived the life of a hermit for several years before he eventually founded several monasteries, which became centers of prayer, manual labor and learning.

St. Benedict begins his rule by urging the monks to “Listen carefully to the master’s instructions and attend to them with the ear of your heart” (Rule, Prologue 1). For us, this means establishing a daily time to listen to the Lord, both in reading the Scriptures and in conversational prayer and meditation.

Our sure foundation during these trying times should be God’s will for each of us, not the constantly changing messages that bombard us in the news or on social media. For some, every online trend has become a form of gospel that must be adhered to with religious conviction. But the faith handed down to us from the Apostles is the only true Gospel, and only it can save souls. Although the times and technology were different, St. Benedict understood the importance of listening to “the master’s instructions.”

In his book, The Holy Spirit in the Life of Jesus, the preacher of the Papal Household, Father Raniero Cantalamessa, addresses the need for priests to arm themselves for battle “with the world rulers of this present darkness” (cf. Jn 10:12). At the heart of his reflection is the insight that “Jesus freed himself from Satan by an act of total obedience to the Father’s will, once and for all handing over his free will to him, so that he could truly say, ‘My food is to do the will of the one who sent me’” (Jn 4:34, The Holy Spirit in the Life of Jesus, p. 36).

The question we must ask ourselves is, “Do I put the Father’s will first in my life in every decision I make and in all that I say and do?” If we place the Father’s will at the center of our lives and truly listen to him with “the ears of our hearts” as St. Benedict taught, we will be prepared for whatever happens and always give witness to the love of God and others. We live in a world that has removed God from culture. History, both salvation history and world history, shows clearly what happens when this occurs. When God is removed, something else becomes “god.” Societies decline and eventually fall and disappear unless they return to the true God and become cultures that promote a life of holiness and virtue.

There is at least one additional lesson from St. Benedict’s rule that is applicable in these times of societal disunity and division. The monks and sisters of the Benedictine spiritual family are known for their hospitality. The Rule teaches this virtue in this way: “All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ, for he himself will say: ‘I was a stranger and you welcomed me’ (Mt 25:35). Proper honor must be shown to all, especially to those who share our faith (Gal 6:10) and to pilgrims” (Rule, #53).

Let us make it our prayer to be able to see others as Christ himself coming to us, even if they are clothed in what St. Mother Teresa called, “the distressing disguise of the poor.” If we continually seek the will of the Father and ask in prayer for our hearts and will to be conformed to his, then we will be able to weather any challenge.