Catholics celebrate the family and the rosary

Friday, Nov. 01, 2013
Catholics celebrate the family and the rosary + Enlarge
By Laura Vallejo
Intermountain Catholic

DRAPER — Dozens of Hispanic Catholics gathered to celebrate a "Day for Families and a Living Rosary" Oct. 26 at the Skaggs Catholic Center in Draper.

"I know how hard it is for you to leave your houses on the weekend; thank you for being here," said Maria Cruz Gray, director of Hispanic Ministry for the Diocese of Salt Lake City, to the attendees.

Gray’s office organized the event, which was open to the Spanish-speaking community of the diocese.

Attendees from all over the state were at the event, some together with their families.

Dr. Antonio Ramirez de León and Father John Phalen were in charge of the presentations.

Ramirez de León, PhD, D.Min., was born in Mexico City and holds advanced degrees in theology and educational psychology, and doctorates in counseling education and supervision and in ministry.

With more than 25 years of experience, Ramirez de León is a pastoral associate at St. Luke Catholic Church in San Antonio, Texas, and an adjunct professor in religious studies at Incarnate Word University and the Mexican American Catholic College.

"He is not a stranger in the diocese" because he has given several retreats here, said Gray as she introduced Ramirez de León to the audience.

After a reflection and prayer, the attendees – children and adults alike – were very attentive to Ramirez de León’s words, which were based in two main themes: "The families that pray together stay together" and "The New Evangelization."

"We are doing here what Pope Francis is asking us to do; we are together as families and we are praying in the families," said Ramirez de León.

Pope Francis reminds the faithful every day about one of the main missions of the Catholic Church, evangelization, said Ramirez de León, emphasizing that some people don’t really understand evangelization.

"Evangelization, catechesis and theology are different aspects of the Gospel ministry," said Ramirez de León. "When we talk about prayer, we assume that there is a relationship with Christ, with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit," he said.

In today’s world it is necessary that the baptized are again evangelized, Ramirez de León said. "It’s not enough to be baptized; you have to be evangelized and have more catechesis."

Lay people are called to evangelize the baptized and attract those people who have left the Church, he said.

"I am sure you know people who were Catholics but are not anymore, so the question is, How are we going to attract them again?" he said, adding that those who have left the Church must experience God’s love in their lives.

"God is not only known by reason, God is also known as we enter his mystery; as we experience his life, his presence, we all have an idea of who God is. Back in the day, we were taught that God was able to punish and that we should be afraid of God. At least that was my experience, but nowadays we need to learn and understand that God is love, he loves you the way you are," said Ramirez de León.

The main objective of evangelization is that people personally experience God’s love and have an encounter with Jesus.

"Jesus is at the center of the family and we have to make sure that Jesus is the center of our families," said Ramirez de León. "Evangelization is the base of the parishes. Now is the time for lay people to step out and evangelize."

Father John Phalen, a priest of the Congregation of Holy Cross who has served as president of Holy Cross Family Ministries since 1996, also spoke at the event.

He carries on the work begun by Servant of God Father Patrick Peyton, CSC, who was known as the "Rosary Priest." Fr. Peyton’s famous motto was: "The Family That Prays Together Stays Together."

To those at the Skaggs Center, Fr. Phalen explained the importance of the rosary and told the attendees that when they pray the rosary they should relate it to their families and to current world events.

Gatherings such as this one are important because they help Hispanics communicate their faith better, said Yolanda Caraveo, a Blessed Sacrament parishioner who attended the event.

"We have the opportunity to know each other more and we are able to exchange our experiences and grow as families. We need to pray in our families to keep them together and more united with better communication," said Caraveo.

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