CCG Leadership Summit Trains Cultural Evangelists

by Manal Khoury

LOS ANGELES, August 22, 2012 -- The CCG Leadership Summit for the Evangelization of Culture for Marriage and Family was held on August 4-5, 2012 at St. Jerome Parish in Los Angeles, CA.  The focus of this gathering was to prepare county Network for Action leaders for speaking in parishes, legislative visits, and recruiting additional members for local teams.

The first day consisted of talks by several key members. Each speaker had a different message to share but all were equally inspiring. One speaker was Bill May, President of Catholics for the Common Good, who set the tone for the weekend with his "Ready for Action" talk. He reminded us of the importance of sharing the CCG mission in regards to marriage as a communion that unites a man and woman with each other and any children born from their union. Marriage starts the circle of irreplacability called family.

Reverend Michael Sweeney, OP followed with a talk on "The Family and the New Evangelization". He emphasized that we need a language that is concrete, not abstract. "The first part of evangelization is to put into the concrete the relationships we are speaking of and expect others to do the same." Amy Vance, from San Diego, found Fr. Sweeney’s talk very informative. "[He] was so educational and inspirational. He gave us the idea that when we talk to people, if we can get them to enter into their own childhood, then they will be able to think about what children are thinking now. And children think in the concrete. They do not have any idea about what a “committed relationship” is -- this is abstract and for a child there is only a mother and a father, sisters, brothers. Children take mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers for granted. These relationships can’t be undone. A child is not chosen."

Jim Brady also gave a talk on "Love, Sex and the Mystery of the Human Person". He addressed our responsibility to love in relationships with other people. "When you're used as a means to someone else's end, it's the opposite of love....to use a person as a means to an end does violence to the very essence of that person." Love is willing the good of the other and receiving the other as a gift of infinite value.

Another speaker was Fr. Matt Munoz, who said we never know what can happen when we are an extreme witness to faith. "We draw our strength from God. No one takes our faith from us, we share it freely. Our first trust is in God -- tighten your circle of trust."

Paul Tenorio, from the Los Angeles CCG team, was motivated by the talks. "I thought that the speakers were amazing!! I found myself in deep thought throughout the weekend constantly asking myself ways to internalize these messages and asking myself what is God trying to tell me through the speakers...I thought that God was ministering to me through the speakers and the message from their talks. I was humbled to sit there and to hear each one share convictions from their hearts. I felt that God used each one of them to inspire all of us- - that each one had a purpose in mind which was the necessity and urgency to make a difference in society about marriage and the potential challenges that may result if no action takes place at this time.”

Following the talks was a wine and cheese social at St. Jerome's. This was soon followed by a dinner at the Buggy Whip restaurant and singing, karaoke style. Amy said she was "grateful for the chance to be with all of the other leadership from CA -- very helpful to hear their stories and activities(and hear karaoke singers!)" Paul also enjoyed the night at the Buggy Whip. "The dinner at Buggy Whip, the ice breaker -- very memorable and lots of fun!! I felt that it brought the whole group together and it definitely was an awesome way to get to know other CCG members."

Sunday morning after Holy Mass, the members came together for a continental breakfast. This was followed by a discussion led by Bill May on the next steps for CCG leaders, some of which include training leaders for the Speakers' Bureau, candidate/legislator briefings, and distribution of literature. Amy found this beneficial. "Sunday [morning was] very productive to share and hear feedback and be motivated by others around the state. [It] was also effective to have the specific outline for our next steps in the movement."

Paul expressed similar sentiments. "Overall, from beginning to end, it was a blessed weekend. It was very inspiring to see all of us eager to make a difference and eager to work with those people around us to fight for a good cause -- something that is worth fighting for."



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