Fr. Mitch Pacwa challenges Catholics to challenge current culture at St. Mark event

By Jacqueline Burkepile

Correspondent

May 14, 2013

Father Mitch Pacwa signs a book after a presentation he gave at St. Mark Church in Denton April 13. (Photo courtesy of Ray King / Fr. Mitch Pacwa team)
More Photos

Renowned Jesuit priest and EWTN personality Father Mitch Pacwa visited St. Mark Church in Denton April 13 to discuss the Year of Faith. Fr. Pacwa, host of EWTN shows “EWTN Live” and “Threshold of Hope,” addressed topics such as secularism, evangelization, sin, and the Eucharist.

A bi-ritual priest who has ties to Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Rite Parish in Lewisville, Fr. Pacwa opened the day with Mass and began his first talk, educating participants on aspects of Church history and how secular ideologies became dominant in Western society. Fr. Pacwa also spoke about the significance of the Mass as a sacrifice, relating it to the Old and New Testaments. He concluded the day with a question-and-answer session followed by informal visiting with those in attendance, before he celebrated the parish’s 5 p.m. Mass.

During his first presentation, Fr. Pacwa encouraged participants to “look the culture in the eye” and say, “We as people of faith are going to teach the truth that Christ teaches us and not cave to your antagonism to religion.’”

In his second talk, Fr. Pacwa discussed the relation between Old and New Testament worship. “Christ used Old Testament language at the Institution of the Eucharist to show that it is a sacrifice. He uses specifically sacrificial language in establishing the Eucharist,” said Fr. Pacwa.

Fr. Pacwa added that we should continue to see the Mass as an unbloody sacrifice representing Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary. “In this way, we see that our life of faith in Jesus Christ is in complete continuity with the life of faith that goes back to Abraham,” he said.

Fr. Pacwa then discussed elements pertaining to sin and how it affects God and those around us. Sin is such a serious matter, he said, because of who we are offending.  “If hitting the president is a federal offense, what kind of a sin is it to hit the Almighty and all-loving God? It becomes an infinite offense … even when we sin against one another,  He counts it as sin against Him.”

Kellie Schlosberg of Holy Family Church in Fort Worth said she appreciated Fr. Pacwa’s directness in proclaiming the truth. She said she was taking seriously his challenge for the laity to learn more. “It’s up to us as Catholics to really take on the Church’s teachings, especially in our marriages and in our families,” said Schlosberg. “We need to educate our children in apologetics and make sure that when they do go off to college, they’re not influenced by the people who don’t have an understanding of the truth.”

Charles Hopkins, a parishioner at Immaculate Conception Parish in Denton, a convert to Catholicism, said he thoroughly enjoyed Fr. Pacwa’s talks. He described him as an inspiration to those struggling with doubts about the nature of the Eucharist. “I think he shed a great deal of light on the Eucharist,” said Hopkins.

Stella Mourer and her husband drove from St. Philip the Apostle Parish in Houston to hear Fr. Pacwa speak. “I think we grow every time we hear him because we learn a little bit more about our faith and how to stand up for it,” said Mourer. “When we learn, we’re able to share with other people.”

Silvia Lesko, Director of Religious Education for St. Mark, who helped coordinate the event, said she hopes the participants grow in their experience with the Mass and with Catholicism. “I hope they heard something here that touched them and deepened their understanding of the mysteries we celebrate,” said Lesko. “I also hope that through the book and CD sales they will learn more, and that their appetites are whetted for future adult education opportunities within the parish.”

When he concluded the conference, Fr. Pacwa encouraged the faithful to stand up for the truth. He said when we focus on Christ Jesus Our Lord, “we stare the culture down; we don’t let them intimidate us,” said Fr. Pacwa. “They’re trying to say we’re passing away — that we’re going to cease to exist. That’s not the case. In fact, they will cease to exist.”

Renowned Jesuit priest and EWTN personality Father Mitch Pacwa visited St. Mark Church in Denton April 13 to discuss the Year of Faith. Fr. Pacwa, host of EWTN shows “EWTN Live” and “Threshold of Hope,” addressed topics such as secularism, evangelization, sin, and the Eucharist.

Published (until 5/14/2063)