Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
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Deacon Jones challenges Men’s Conference to live the Gospel boldly
the Inland Register
(From the March 20, 2014 edition of the Inland Register)
Deacon Alex Jones (IR file photo)
With the theme “Living the Gospel with Boldness,” some 125 men from throughout the Spokane Diocese, as well as Idaho and Montana, gathered Saturday, March 8, for the third annual Catholic Men’s Conference.
Participants came together to encourage their growth as faithful and faith-filled Catholic men – individually, and together.
Keynote speaker was Deacon Alex Jones of the Archdiocese of Detroit, Mich., a former Pentecostal minister whose study of the history and early teachings of Christianity led to answering the call of the Holy Spirit to become Catholic.
Frequently repeating “God wants more from us men than avoidance of sin; he wants our hearts,” the deacon encouraged his listeners to enter the personal conversion which runs deeper than just correct moral living or flat obedience to Church laws.
The deacon gave three major conferences during the day. Each conference was followed by time for quiet prayer and reflection, and then small-group gatherings for discussion and further reflection.
Knights of Columbus Council #683 provided lunch. Bishop William Skylstad, Bishop Emeritus of the Spokane Diocese, celebrated Mass with the men in the chapel of the third floor of Gonzaga University’s main building. The chapel also hosted Deacon Jones’s conferences.
Deacon Jones wove the testimony of his conversion to Catholicism into the fabric of his talks. That journey of faith and pursuit of truth “caused me to cherish the Faith expression I have known since birth,” said one participant.
“The deacon’s enthusiasm for the Gospel and the freedom from religious prejudice he has learned from experience is inspiring,” said Jim Diehl, chairman of the conference’s planning committee. “His talks showed us how to move beyond our own prejudices and to focus on living the Gospel right where I live. He walked away from a ministry he had built up for years to be faithful to God’s call to Christian unity. What we are asked to forego is nothing in comparison!”
Deacon Jones reminded the men that living the Gospel boldly has less to do with spirited enthusiasm and more to do with studied knowledge of the Faith and a conviction to speak and act lovingly and patiently with the grace of truth found in Catholicism.
Plans are already in the works for the 2015 conference.
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