It was a beautiful evening where two dozen Community members gathered at the Cathedral of Ignatius of Loyola Parish Life Center. After group sharing, Rector, Deacon John Collins, introduced the speaker and wife, Judy Collins. They shared a hug at the podium and Judy proceeded with her "evangelization by sharing my life with others" story. She recalled several moments in her life where she felt the true presence and closeness to God.
Her first account was when her earthly father died when she was 16 years old. After hearing the news, she asked to stop at a church to pray. She felt a bright warm light shine upon her and knew it was her heavenly Father God comforting her. Her second big close moment was on her Cursillo weekend. Judy felt the closeness and love of the Holy Trinity- especially the Holy Spirit. She grew in relationship with Holy Spirit and felt like she was on the mountaintop with Peter, James and John at the Transfiguration of Jesus.
The third and most recent memory was the day before Thanksgiving 2022 when she had open heart surgery. This moment opened her mind to reflect on her life and its meaning, while trusting her faith to help her through this situation. After finding blockage in her leg arteries and veins, Judy's doctor ordered more tests to find blockage close to her heart. They rushed her into surgery and also removed a blood clot from her brain. The recovery nurse was by her side praying and Judy felt at peace, knowing the God was by her side every step of the way.
Judy tells her story to "anyone that will listen" to evangelize and bring them closer to Christ and giving glory to God for His blessings upon her. Deacon John echoed her story telling moments as he shared his perspective on the situation. When he received the doctor's phone call, he didn't know what to do. He took a moment and thought of calling his good friend, Deacon Stephen Scienzo. Deacon Stephen talked with him, picked him up, brought him to the hospital, stayed with him all day and even bought him dinner. Deacon John was so thankful and felt Christ with him as they addressed Judy's situation together.
Spiritual Advisor, Deacon Joe O'Connell, shared that Deacon Stephen exemplified what the Cursillo charism "Make a friend ... be a friend ... bring your friend closer to Christ." Deacon Stephen shared in Deacon John's life for the love he has for him and his wife, Judy. It's getting back to basics like John 13:35 states: By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
Deacon Joe also quoted from Romans 15:17-18. It's a ripple effect and you may never see the fruits of your evangelization in this life; however, it may be revealed in heaven, and you may be surprised. Be Christ to everyone!
In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to boast of my work for God. For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to win obedience from the Gentiles, by word and deed. ~Romans 15:17-18