From July 2nd-5th the Emmanuel Community hosted the inaugural four day summer forum titled: Emmanuel Encounter. Two bishops, five priests, one deacon, three consecrated sisters, 150 adults and 50 children from Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan, New York City, Montreal and France gathered together in Quebec City.
The Emmanuel Encounter weekend was a time of great joy, community spirit, workshops, teachings, adoration, mercy groups, praise, confession, fellowship and beautiful liturgies. One participant reflected; “The Emmanuel Encounter weekend was a time to be immersed into the word of God and to reflect on the great treasures of the sacraments that we have been given.” Herve-Marie and Martine Catta (co-founders of the Emmanuel Community) flew from Paris to attend the weekend giving a range of workshops and teachings to those present. Martine Catta commented; “It was very beautiful to see such joy over the four days and to witness such grace that was given to all. In the simplicity, there was great harmony and depth given through prayer and in the liturgies.”
The theme of the Emmanuel Encounter weekend was; “I have come to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29). The key messages of hope and the mercy of Christ was reflected in the high caliber of teachings including Salt + Light’s very own Fr. Thomas Rosica. Fr. Rosica gave us a beautiful image in his teaching of how the name Emmanuel “God be with us” signifies both the prayer and promise of God’s response to the prayer that He is with us today. Martine Catta spoke on “Light of the World” saying that the “Lord’s call to us is for today, His grace is for today. We are called to be light now. The grace of God touches us, heals us giving us the ability to bring Emmanuel to other people by being present to them.”
A weekend like this showed the importance of community which lifts the spirit through praise and fellowship. It was an opportunity to meet Jesus through the various graces of the Emmanuel community (adoration, compassion and evangelization) which are really the graces at the heart of our church. The desire of God to give us courage and hope is achieved through a weekend like this and is a beautiful lifeline for all youth to tap into the graces of the church. Laurent Albisetti, organizer of the weekend commented; “Our aim was to live something international and intergenerational and we got it! I believe something special occurred: the graces of joy, liturgy and adoration were present. People testified that they were touched by the charity within the community.”
It was uplifting to see the collaboration between cultures and nationalities represented and the reunion of priests and bishops. This showed the beauty of the universal church in prayer together through deep faith interacting in such grace. One participant, Anne Roman, from Toronto commented; “It was wonderful to see how bishops, priests, laypeople could all be integrated together in fellowship and fun. This is a sign of what the Church really is. There was such richness in all the teachings, particularly Fr Tom Rosica, Archbishop Prendergast from Ottawa and Bishop Lemay of Quebec. We hope that a similar encounter will take place again in English speaking Canada.”
A great gift and grace of the Emmanuel Community is mercy groups, the opportunity to pray with one another and together in love with faith expecting great things. Mercy Night, a night of prayer, adoration and confession was the opportunity for participants to receive prayer from Emmanuel members. It was a time of healing, ministry and unity as people stepped forth in great faith and honesty trusting God that their prayers were answered. One lady said how “it was such a gift and privilege to pray with our brothers and sisters as the Lord used us as an instrument of His grace and mercy to minister to His people. This is unity and this is hope. The world needs this.”
The weekend concluded with a closing Mass presided by Bishop Lemay of Quebec in which he spoke of the urgency of our mission in Christ and that “God is not asking for our success when he sends us out but to be present as a sign of the love of God.”
The Emmanuel Community is an association of the faithful of all states of life. The Community takes its name from Scripture: “Behold! the Virgin is with child and will give birth to a son whom they will call Emmanuel, a name which means ‘God with us’” (Mt 1:23). The profound grace of the Community comes from Eucharistic Adoration of God: “Emmanuel”, truly present among us. From this Adoration is born compassion for all who are dying of hunger, both materially and spiritually. From this compassion is born the thirst to evangelise throughout the entire world, especially among the poorest of the poor. Abandonment to the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, the intercession of Mary, Mother of God, the sacraments and liturgy, deeply establish the communal and apostolic life in the very life of the Church.