More than 400 people attended the Upper Room Conference hosted by Proclaim. Photo by Nicholas Elbers

Lighting the fire of faith: a call to action

By  Nicholas Elbers, Canadian Catholic News
  • October 6, 2023

The world “is a great field waiting to be cultivated,” Archbishop J. Michael Miller told more than 400 Catholic ministry leaders at this year’s Upper Room Conference hosted by Proclaim. 

In his homily, Miller said our world desperately needs “the powerful truth, mercy and love of Jesus Christ,” which God has entrusted us to bring to people. 

“If we do not give witness, if we do not proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, we — our parishioners, parishes and local Church — will be sterile,” he said. “They’d be like dead people who think they are alive; like dried up trees that produce no fruit; like empty wells that offer no water; like soil that produces no harvest.”    

Baptism is the sacrament that “consecrates each of the faithful, and not just a select few, to share in the prophetic ministry of speaking and bearing witness to the truth of Jesus Christ and His Gospel,” Miller said. At baptism, we receive “the Great Commission from Jesus” to make disciples of the nations, said the Archbishop.

“This is what Proclaim is doing in our local Church. It is lighting in us that fire of the first Pentecost when the doors of the Upper Room were thrust wide open to the world by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.” 

The event featured two keynote speakers. 

Pete Burak, vice president of Renewal Ministries, gave a talk on “spirit-filled leadership,” which emphasized the importance of silence and solitude in a good spiritual life.

Proclaim director Eric Chow shared the history of Proclaim ministries since its inception in 2019 and encouraged attendees to transform their homes, parishes and communities into outposts where missionaries are formed and sent forth.

This year’s conference focused on connecting participants with other local ministry leaders and each nametag was colour-coded for one of the archdiocese’s nine deaneries to make it easier for participants to connect with others in their local area.

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