Southwestern Indiana's Catholic Community Newspaper

Source And Summit: 'Who Do You Say That I Am?'

By Maria Sermersheim, Special To The Message
Alisann Elpers speaks to Source and Summit attendees about her spiritual journey. Photo by Emily Nord, Special to The Message

On March 16,500 people (including our 140-member team) descended upon Mater Dei High School to spend their weekend with Christ. Each day, we celebrated Mass, prayed the rosary, and had the opportunity for confession. We enjoyed skits and dance battles between Source Summit Chaplain Father Jerry Pratt and Sister T (Benedictine Sister Teresa Gunter), and our seminarians. We centered our lives on God, built community in our small groups and reflected on our theme for the weekend: “Who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15).

Nic Davidson, a keynote speaker last year, returned to host the 2018 weekend and speak again. We were also blessed by the presences of Chris Bray, Franciscan Friars of the Renewal Brother Maximillian and Father Terry, Father Tony Ernst (Pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul, Holy Cross and St. James parishes in Gibson County), Alisann Elpers, Logan Folz, our seminarians, Disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ Sister Bernadette and Father Pratt. Many of the presentations focused on our identities as young Catholics, God’s identity, and our relationships with each other and God.

Friday night, Chris Bray emphasized the idea that we live in a culture of identity crisis that suffers from “spiritual amnesia.” We rush about the world and, in its chaos, we do not recognize the excellence and beauty in our lives that is God. And like his 2-year-old daughter, we often cling to security blankets of indecision rather than enjoying “the laughter and fun in the pool” with our family, the Church. We must let go of our comfortable lives and find ourselves in the Holy Spirit.

Brother Maximilian shared the story of a Native American man he met who explained their version of a handshake. Gripping Brother Max’s forearm, he said, “This means if you fall down, I will hold you up. And if I can’t hold you up, I will fall down with you.” This struck Brother Max as a perfect parallel to Jesus’s death on the cross, and he continued to say, “[Jesus] loves you right where you [are], but he loves you too much to leave you there.”

Saturday morning, Father Tony spoke about the Eucharist and emphasized the importance of Jesus’ teaching on it. In John 6:66, many of his followers left him because he was so serious about its truth. Some priests who struggled with unbelief experienced Eucharistic Miracles. This not only proved the True Presence of Christ, but it also revealed that the sacrament doesn’t depend on the priest or his belief; it comes through Jesus alone. On separate occasions, the Eucharist was physically transformed into human flesh and analyzed objectively by world-renowned cardiologists. They concluded in every case that it was heart tissue from someone who was tortured, the DNA and blood types matched the others, and shockingly, it was still pulsating as living, beating heart tissue.

That afternoon, Alisann Elpers told her story – about how her pride prevented her from knowing God. She discovered the Litany of Humility and forged her relationship with God through the essential vehicle of prayer. She reminded us that prayer is not about getting what we want but learning to want the things we need.

Logan Folz also shared his story, in which he fell away from his foundations and made poor decisions. Fortunately, he was given the opportunity to return home in more ways than one. His life is filled with joy and love, even though this conversion was no more than two years ago; and it is now his mission to share that love.

After lunch and an entertaining seminarian skit, Nic Davidson explained why we get up in the morning. We were made to walk with God, and everything we enjoy is intentional. We have taste buds and art appreciation, and sports and jokes, so we can experience God’s love. Nic also addressed the theology of the body and why we have bodies and aren’t just spiritual beings. He explained that the Hebrew words for male and female are like “Christmas morning” – the two words have layers of meaning. Additionally, marital love resulting in new life directly mirrors the Trinity, where the love between the Father and the Son results in the Holy Spirit.

Following dinner and a serious team skit, as well as The Voice and the dance-off where the seminarians demonstrated their prowess as NSYNC, seminarian Luke Hassler spoke of discernment. He explained that trying to understand God’s will for us is not a static concept; we must keep moving and listening.

Later, Sister Bernadette defined forgiveness as a choice, not a feeling. If we hinge our forgiveness on another person’s willingness to change, we make ourselves slaves to their discretion – and we lose the opportunity to extend God’s love to others.

Most importantly, the weekend provided a wonderful environment for each attendee to personally encounter God. Adoration on Saturday night built on the foundations laid Friday night, and truly united us as “One Body in Christ.” It is incredible what a weekend of truth, community, and the Holy Spirit can do, and I pray it continues to transform our hearts and minds.

Just as Jesus’ heart continues to beat, we would like to continue to meet as a Source Summit family with follow-up events. The first one is planned for the evening of April 22 at St. Bernard Parish in Snake Run. Please watch for further information on Facebook and through email, and keep the young Church in your prayers.