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4/1/23 Ultreya

It was a warm evening on April 1, 2023 at the Cathedral of St. Ignatius of Loyola Family Life Center. About 25 Community members and friends gathered to hear witness speaker, Joe Johnston, speak about his "Road to Emmaus" encounters with Jesus. He started off speaking about his recent 60th birthday and where have all the scales gone. The Holy Spirit kept him up in the early hours of the morning to prepare for this talk. He took a stack of index cards and began explaining his journey towards Christ, the ultimate guide to eternal salvation. He was reminded of St. Paul's walk without seeing and his friends guiding him. He took a few steps forward during the sacraments and took some steps back when he wasn't following Christ closely. He had spiritual blindness and with growth in the Holy Spirit by attending Cursillo, the scales began falling from his eyes. He could see clearly where the Lord wanted to take him. He reflected on the Passion of Jesus when He prayed, " My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" He loved the Father so much and the God the Father loved Him so much, that he grieved that not more people were saved.

He is thankful for Cheri and Ken Reynolds who sponsored Joe and his wife, Claudia, to a Cursillo weekend. They became like family, with a mutual love for one another and with the community. One simple invitation has turned into a lifelong family bonding experience. It has been a rough few years with illnesses and a recent complex heart surgery. He learned to unite his sufferings with Jesus. The community rallied together to pray for Joe, and he was given a second chance. He spoke with Father Gavin who said his situation was a "Win, Win." Whether he lived or died in the arms of Christ, he knew he was loved.

Spiritual Advisor, Deacon John Collins, reminded us that the road to Emmaus is a guide to all Catholics. It's a continual personal growth in body, mind and spirit. The church body is encouraged to reach beyond Cursillo and impact the church on a larger scale. Live and learn to be fundamental.

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