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Bishop Urges Source Summit Attendees To Be Missionaries Of Mercy

Bishop Joseph M. Siegel censes the altar during the opening of the April 7 Mass he celebrated at the Source Summit retreat. The Message photo by Tim Lilley

Bishop Joseph M. Siegel celebrated the closing Mass of the Diocese of Evansville’s  2019 Source Summit retreat for youth and young adults, and he encouraged the young people in attendance to go forth as missionary disciples of mercy. He asked them to share the forgiveness of God they have experienced in their lives – especially through the sacrament of reconciliation – with those in their homes, schools, teams and communities.

Approximately 450 young people, ages 13-24, participated this year. Approximately 100 adults joined them as chaperones for the weekend.

In his homily the bishop talked about how the Gospels proclaim that Jesus, the Son of God, was sent from the Father to proclaim God’s gracious love and mercy for sinners, and bring about the forgiveness of our sins by his passion, death and resurrection.

He explained that the day’s Gospel reading (John 8:1-11) portrays that mercy through the story of the woman caught in adultery. Jesus challenges the elders, who sought to trap him in order to bring charges against him – by urging that those without sin be the first to cast stones.

Jesus forced them to look into their hearts and consciences and recognize their own sins and failings, and so the elders drop their stones and walk away. Then, without minimizing the woman’s transgression, Jesus grants her mercy and sets her free from her guilt, sending her forth with the command not to sin any more.

The bishop continued by saying that Jesus challenges us to look at our lives, recognize our own sins, and our need for mercy and forgiveness.  He told us that the measure with which we judge others is the measure with which we will be judged.  The bishop suggested that few of us would want our lives to be subject to the level of scrutiny that we often apply to other people.

He then called them to go forth as missionaries of mercy and share the news of God’s mercy and forgiveness. In closing, he said, “May Mary, the Mother of Mercy, pray for us that we might be messengers of that good news to our world.”

About the weekend

As noted on its website, Source Summit is a Eucharistic-centered retreat answering the challenge of Pope Francis: "We need to implore his grace daily, asking him to open our cold hearts and shake up our lukewarm and superficial existence.  Standing before him with open hearts, letting him look at us, we see that gaze of love…How good it is to stand before a crucifix or on our knees before the Blessed Sacrament simply to be in his presence! How much

good it does us when he once more touches our lives and impels us to share his new life!” (Evangelii Gaudium 264)

The theme of this year’s retreat was “Behold Your Mother.” Young people and their adult chaperones gathered at Reitz Memorial on the evening of April 5. They enjoyed presentations over the weekend from lay and religious speakers, and longtime Source Summit team member Gail Shetler said the presentations were amazing. “This retreat was wonderful,” she said. “All of the talks hit just where they needed to.”

Presenters and Mass presiders over the weekend included:

  • Diocese of Evansville Fathers Bernie Etienne, Tyler Tenbarge, Chris Forler, Sudhakar Bhustati and Jerry Pratt. Father Pratt serves as diocesan chaplain for Source Summit.
  • Franciscan Friar of the Renewal Father Augstino Tores, who has attended several Source Summit weekends
  • Missionary, youth minister, speaker and author Hic Davidson, who attended Source Summit last year and returned by popular demand
  • Singer/songwriter and speaker Community of St. John Sister Teresa Immaculate
  • Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Father Zachary of the Mother of God, who has appeared on EWTN and serves as a popular retreat minister
  • Sisters of Life Jordan Rose and Lucia Christi. The Sisters of Life is a contemplative / active religious community of women founded in 1991 by John Cardinal O’Connor for the protection and enhancement of the sacredness of every human life. 
  • Gus Lloyd, host of Seize the Day on Sirius-XM Radio's The Catholic Channel. He also is an author and speaker.
  • Franciscan Friars of the Renewal Father Terry Messer, who has attended Source Summit for several years.
  • Franciscan Friars of the Renewal Brother Shawn and Brother Maximilian Mary
  • Brothers of St. John Deacon Brother Charnel and Brother Benedict