Day of Renewal draws hundreds to cathedral

By | May 26, 2010


Ralph Martin, president of Detroit-based Renewal Ministries, offers a presentation at the Call to Holiness Day of Renewal May 22 at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral.(Photo by Eddie O’Neill | For The Compass)

In the morning’s opening Mass, Bishop Ricken called upon the Diocese of Green Bay to pray for a new Pentecost. He implored those attending for the spirit of the “new evangelization” to come upon the diocese.

Ralph Martin, who is president of Renewal Ministries, an organization dedicated to Catholic renewal and evangelization with headquarters in Michigan, gave three talks on the theme of holiness.

In his opening talk, Martin said that the call to holiness was not just for the pious or priests and nuns, but rather a call for all of the faithful. It is not, he said, just geared for some certain spirituality type.

“Holiness means loving God with our whole heart and strength. It means transforming our hearts into love,” he said. “Holiness is not a burden from God but rather a gift he’s given us so we can be completed in him.”

Martin, who is author of the recently published book, “The Fulfillment of all Desire,” a guidebook on the spiritual life, encouraged his audience to shoot for heaven and not settle for purgatory in their personal spiritual journeys. He noted that the pain and the struggles of life are often God calling us back to him.

“God wants us to be with him,” Martin explained. “He wants us to draw us into a deeper relationship with him.”

In his three talks, Martin drew heavily upon the work and writings of Pope John Paul II, particularly his 2001 apostolic letter, Novo Millennio Ineunte. He also quoted numerous saints. For example, it was St. Therese of Lisieux who said that “holiness was simply doing the will of God in all things,” explained Martin.

Around 300 people attended the event, which was sponsored by Esto Vir men’s group, the Cursillo movement and the Diocese of Green Bay, among other organizations.

Deacon Nick Williams, a member of St. John the Baptist Parish in Howard, found the day quite rewarding. He was particularly challenged by Bishop Ricken’s call for a new Pentecost in the diocese.

“I liked the bishop’s challenge for all of us to become more closely united to God and in turn the diocese will be become more on fire for the Lord,” said Williams. “I agree that holiness must start with the individual.”

St. Francis Xavier parishioner Stephanie Kepsley found the whole day to be quite enlightening. She noted that it was a good introduction for her on the role the Holy Spirit plays in the church and in individual lives.

“The call to have a disciplined prayer life was something that I took from Martin’s talk,” she said. “As well, things aren’t always going to be happy or go our way but that is just part of God’s plan to make us holy.”

Kepsley concluded that much of what she took from the day were things she that she had heard before but as she explained, “these are things that are good to hear again and again.”

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