Catholics join other Christians at Lifest

By | July 22, 2009

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Deb Wegner-Hohensee, parish planning director for the Green Bay Diocese, makes a necklace at the Diocese of Green Bay booth. (Sam Lucero | The Compass)

According to Deacon Ray DuBois, promotional services director for the Department of Education, this was the third year the Green Bay Diocese has sponsored an information booth at Lifest.

“Our diocesan co-sponsorship is a collaborative effort of the departments of Education, Evangelization and Worship, The Compass and Vocations,” he said. “We have multiple purposes: education, information and evangelization. It’s an opportunity to be present and share our diocesan message with nearly 20,000 people across multiple groups, including youth, young adults, and families.”

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Fr. Joel Sember celebrates a nightime Mass July 9 at Lifest. (Sam Lucero | The Compass)

While some Lifest sponsors have objected to a Catholic presence at Lifest, said Deacon DuBois, the event’s executive director, Bob Lenz, is supportive.

“Lifest estimates that 25 to 30 percent of those attending the five-day festival identify themselves as Catholic,” said Deacon DuBois. “Our presence at Lifest reflects our diocesan commitment to lifelong Catholic learning.”

In addition to the information table, the diocese offered a campsite where Catholic campers could join in daily Mass, recitation of the rosary twice a day and go to confession.

“Several of our seminarians and Catholic Youth Expedition folks were at the hospitality area 24/7 to talk about our Catholic faith or just listen to those who had something to say,” said Deacon DuBois. “Each night ended with a campfire and s’mores.”

Some Lifest attendees were pleasantly surprised to see a Catholic presence at the event, he added.

“I lost count of the number of people who stopped by the booth to just thank us for being there,” he said. “Many of our visitors are those who were brought up Catholic but have drifted away. Through engagement with our many volunteers we have the ability to clear up misunderstandings about our Catholic faith, offer encouragement to those who want to ‘come home,’ and give people the contact information they need to re-connect with parishes or Catholic schools in their geographical area.”

See slide show of photos from Lifest, including Toby Mac concert photos, at this link.

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