Father Mark explains, “I am completely convinced that what people desire more than anything is to belong, and to feel welcomed and to be accepted, and to be embraced as they are… And I think the message of Jesus, the great revolutionary message of Jesus, in many ways, is that you do belong, and that you are accepted – that you are welcome.”
My first experience attending a Divine Renovation (DR) Conference was in the summer of 2018 in Halifax, Canada. Being blessed to participate in the most recent conference in Dallas, I can have a better appreciation of the journey we at Notre Dame have traveled these past few years and how the Holy Spirit has been moving within the Divine Renovation Ministry and other parishes in our Catholic Church.
“I, at one time, referred to Saint Mary’s as Our Lady of the Comatose…We were the typical parish in the mushy middle,” states longtime St.Mary’s parishioner Dwain Robbins.
He continues, “People came, checked off, ‘I went to Mass.’ They tried to be the first out of the parking lot; there was was relatively little interaction.” Ten years ago if you tried to talk about evangelization “people’s eyes glazed over.”
Located in the Lower Blackstone Valley in Uxbridge, Massachusetts, St. Mary’s has not been immune to the problems facing the Church.
But if you were to walk into St.Mary’s today you would not find a sleepy parish, as Dwain beams “I can’t say that anymore; we are anything but.”
As a child, Father Paddy O’Donovan wanted to be either a performer, a politician… or a priest.
His humour, charm, and conversational agility make it clear he could have been all 3. But behind the warmth is a spiritual depth and a profound love for people. Quoting Father Hans Urs Von Balthasar, he states he ultimately chose theodrama, than that of the ego. And a reflection on his years in ministry demonstrate how God is using him to tell His story.
This month he celebrates 50 years of ordination.