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Fall gathering focuses on God’s gift of forgiveness

By KATIE LEFEBVRE, Globe staff reporter
(Email Katie)

Focusing on the theme for Catechetical Sunday, “Teaching About God’s Gift of Forgiveness,” ministers from the Diocese of Sioux City came together for the annual Fall Gathering.

The gathering was held Sept. 4 at Sacred Heart in Ida Grove for directors of religious education, youth ministers, pastoral ministers and faith formation directors.

The evening began with a business meeting and introductions of Fred Shellabarger and Linsey Hoard, the new assistant directors. Upcoming events in the diocese were presented as well as time for networking between the diocesan ministers present.

“To be able to focus on God’s mercy and forgiveness of others was a great start to the catechetical year,” said Sean Martin, diocesan director of new evangelization, catechesis and family life.

Deacon Ray Rosburg, who attended the Fall Gathering, is pastoral minister and director of religious education for the four parish cluster of Anthon, Danbury, Mapleton and Oto known as Sts. Mary & Joseph Parishes.

“I have attended the Diocesan Fall and Spring Gatherings for several years and have found them to be an excellent source of information as well as being able to get questions answered and clarification on the many various programs of the diocese,” said the deacon. “It has been and usually is a good place to meet, greet and discuss programs with other directors and pastoral minsters of the diocese.”

Julie Storr, DRE at St. Thomas Parish in Manson, likes hearing about new programs coming out at the Fall Gathering. She was also asked to talk about Come Follow Me, a catechetical program new the U.S., which she heard about at the St. John Bosco Conference in Steubenville a couple years ago.

“I'm excited that Youth 2000 is coming,” she said. “I appreciate getting the schedule of all the upcoming diocesan programs. Networking is important because the best refreshing ideas often come from other DREs.”

God’s forgiveness

God’s forgiveness was the focus of a presentation given by Father Patrick Behm, parochial vicar at Cathedral of the Epiphany in Sioux City.

Father Behm's talk, Deacon Rosburg said, was very nice and fitting for the theme of this Catechetical Year and Sunday on Sept. 21 - "Teaching About God's Gift of Forgiveness."   

“Father Pat told a story about a down-and-out priest whose dignity was restored because of the love of Pope John Paul II,” said Storr. “It was a good reminder that God never gets tired of loving and forgiving us. Sometimes it’s us that get tired of asking.”

The gathering concluded with a time of prayer and Father Behm was available for confessions.

“It was awesome to have Father Behm there for confession,” said Martin. “I know a lot of the adults that come to these various functions are very thankful when confession is offered. It is really hard sometimes, even when you work for the church, to be able to take time to go to the sacrament of confession.”

Storr said she is finding that taking time for quiet prayer and meditation “is becoming more important. I try to not miss those opportunities.”

“I always greatly enjoy sacred silence, quiet time to reflect and refocus on what's really important - God and our relationship with him,” said Deacon Rosburg.

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