A group of women from St. John’s Church in Fenton, Michigan, recently discovered that the call of the New Evangelization truly is for all Catholics.
These women—Jeanie Frakes, Tammy Junker, Nora Francis, and Christine Champlin—had their faith activated when they attended a Renewal Ministries’ Gathering in 2015.
“We left on fire for the Lord,” said Jeanie. “We knew God had called us to bring Life in the Spirit to our parish.
Life in the Spirit Seminars help adults prepare their hearts to receive the Holy Spirit and make a commitment to make Jesus the Lord of their lives.
Peter Herbeck introduced the women at Renewal Ministries’ 2016 Gathering. He explained that they told him they normally “wouldn’t have thought they were the ones to do something like that; they would have thought somebody else more important or trained needed to do it.”
“These are mighty warriors of God, and they were typical of a lot of good Catholics,” Peter continued. “They’d been on retreats and parish missions, but in their mind, they thought they were not like the speakers they heard. But then the Lord activated their faith.”
When the group went home from the 2015 Gathering, it seemed they wouldn’t be able to bring the Life in the Spirit to their parish. They responded by praying.
Jeanie explained, “We were called to do it. We didn’t give up. We couldn’t forget how we felt when we left here—we knew we had to do it.”
For nearly a year, the group—along with “prayer warriors” who joined them—prayed to Mary, Undoer of Knots, that the Lord would open doors to bring a Life in the Spirit Seminar to their parish.
And then, unexpectedly, Debra Hawley, the director of the St. Francis Prayer Center in nearby Flint, Michigan, visited St. John’s pastor to tell him about the prayer center. While she was there, the priest mentioned that people in the parish wanted to do a Life in the Spirit Seminar—and she offered to help lead one.
“The Lord had a plan,” she explained.
Nevertheless, things still didn’t fall into place smoothly, and shortly before the seminar was scheduled to begin, “the only ones signed up were us and the prayer warriors,” said Jeanie. So they kept praying—“praying was our power,” she said.
Those prayers bore fruit—during the last week before the seminar, nearly 200 people registered. And almost 250 people attended the entire six-week seminar.
“We thank God, because He brought a beautiful seminar to our parish, and it went off like fireworks,” said Jeanie.
And the fruit doesn’t end there. According to Debra, ninety people who attended the seminar also attended follow-up courses.
Debra explained that the Fenton story relates to all of the faithful, in that “we have to be faithful to what we’ve been called for—but the momentum and the fruit have got to be God’s.”
“Grace cooperates with us doing our part,” she added. “Those women were faithful and persistent—like the faithful widow in Scripture.”
As Peter explained, “God was moving them. Pope Francis said the Church began on the move—when the Holy Spirit comes, God wants us to get moving, and get into what He wants us to do, even if we don’t have it all figured out. They did it, and they were activated, and they passed the current of grace on to others.”