The Spirituality Fair, billed as “A Vacation for the Soul,” was sponsored by the Evangelization and Worship Department. It featured sessions on various topics of spirituality, as well as exhibitors and vendors from groups as distinct as Charismatic Renewal and the Institute of Christ the King, various retreat houses in the diocese and Camp Tekawitha, the diocesan youth camp. There were also various prayer experiences, from morning prayer and walking meditations to chant and the lectio divina.
“People told us that we delivered what we promised,” said Dr. Kristina DeNeve, spirituality and evangelization director for the diocese.
“I’m really excited about the breadth of the spirituality we were able to expose people to,” she added. “It was such a nice diversity of who we are in terms of approaching our spiritual life.”
About 125 people attended the event, and were offered a chance to spend follow-up time with the fair’s speakers. Many people were interested in speaking with Fr. Bob Thorn, pastor of St. Matthew Parish in Wausau, and a former instructor of transcendental meditation. Fr. Thorn told of his personal conversion experience that led him back to the Catholic faith after experiencing exorcisms in Medjugorje.
“I had got really caught up in Hindu philosophy,” Fr. Thorn told his audience. Even though he had been raised as a devoted Catholic, his later pursuit in life left him “blinded to what God was saying in my life.” But praying at Medjugorje led him back to the church and a conversion that led to his ordination as a priest 10 years ago on May 15.
Other attendees had questions about the Latin Mass for Fr. Buchholz, rector of St. Joseph Oratory in Green Bay. Also explored were the Byzantine church’s tradition of human divination and purgatory.
Next year’s Spirituality Fair will be held on March 6. Oblate Fr. Ron Rolheiser, a Compass columnist, will be the keynote speaker.