Catholics Gather for 2019 Annual Assembly at Missouri State Capitol

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Last weekend, over 350 Catholics gathered at the Missouri State Capitol for the 2019 Annual Assembly. The theme for the day was "Raising the Next Generation of Catholic Advocates."  
 
The day began with an inspiring keynote address by David Bereit, Founder of 40 Days for Life. Bereit outlined the four common traits of societies in decline -- decrease in religious belief, increase in immorality, breakdown of the family, and devaluation of human life. He then offered five examples of young Catholics who have been inspired to start ministries around the country; ministries that are helping reverse troubling trends in American culture. One of those ministries is FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students), the organization for which Bereit currently works that sends young missionary disciples to proclaim the Gospel on over 1,000 college campuses throughout the country. Bereit ended his talk by quoting Mother Teresa, who once told an admirer to "find your Calcutta" when asked how he could emulate her life. 
 
Attendees then heard from four seasoned advocates who shared briefly their experience advocating on education, social justice, criminal justice, and pro-life. Sister Cecelia Ann Rezac from the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Michael Halterman, former CEO of Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Lois Thomas of the Diocese of Jefferson City, and Sam Lee of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, each gave personal testimony about their advocacy work and offered advice on how younger advocates can get involved in their communities.  
 
Before lunch, attendees watched a video presentation about the experience of a local Catholic WWII veteran, Bill McAnany, who witnessed first-hand the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 as a 17-year-old navy radiology technician. Bill and his wife Linda received a warm welcome and a token of appreciation from Bishop McKnight.
 
After lunch, the conference continued with six seminars on various topics, including advocacy 101, pro-life apologetics, gender ideology, immigration, racism, and the Pope's recent encyclical on youth. The Annual Assembly concluded with Mass at St. Peter's Catholic Church across from the Capitol during which Bishop Rice offered a wonderful homily bringing a close to an informative day. If you missed this year's Assembly, please mark your calendar for Saturday, October 3rd, 2020 when the Missouri Catholic Conference will host its 25th Annual Assembly at the state Capitol. 

October 28, 2019 - 2:40pm
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