About 30 young adults from throughout the Archdiocese of Philadelphia gathered for a young adult retreat on Saturday, May 13 at St. David Parish in Willow Grove led by Catholic speaker, author, and evangelist Chika Anyanwu.
The retreat was sponsored by the Catholic Leadership Institute, Metanoia Young Adults, the Office for Ministry with Young Adults along with the Office for the New Evangelization, and St. David Parish.
It included small group interaction, adoration, confession and Mass. It concluded with dinner and a social.
Anyanwu offered inspiring testimony on how to live as a courageous Catholic in the face of “cancel culture.”
For the first part of her talk, Anyanwu focused on living courageously as a Catholic explaining that God knows what He is doing and our restlessness is His way of preparing our hearts and minds for change.
Anyanwu shared her experience of a time where she had to be courageous and practice fortitude when an individual kept interrupting her when talking about the Gospel to someone else. Following the encounter, a waiter overheard what was going on and thanked Anyanwyu for sharing her faith despite the interruptions.
“He [the waiter] felt the presence of Jesus,” she said.
Anyanwu pointed to the fact that many of saints acted courageously.
“There are moments in our lives when we’re courageous,” said Anyanwu. “There are moments when we run away. Never be afraid of those moments when we’re scared. Sometimes the courage is to not say something.”
Anyanwu concluded the first part of her talk reminding participants “that ‘Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.’ To lives our lives, we turn to Jesus and the Catholic faith.”
Percy Van Dunk, a parishioner of St. Joseph Parish in Downingtown, agreed with Anyanwu saying “Jesus gives us the way to life and truth.”
After a brief break and a discussion portion of the program, Anyanwu transitioned to discussing cancel culture. Cancel culture does not condemn behavior, it condemns people she said noting that in a cancel culture we are casting aside people and their ideas.
Cancelling is different from collecting she explained. She noted someone in need of repentance living a life of prayer and penance is an example of collecting. One barred from community and not just for their actions is cancelling. That is not what the Church is about — we need to look at people with love.
Thomas DiBenedetto, parishioner of Our Mother of Good Counsel Parish in Bryn Mawr, was enthralled by Anyanwu’s second part of the talk as it made him reflect on how he feels about cancel culture.
“When you talk about other people, it is wrong,” said DiBenedetto. “It makes you reflect on if an idea is wrong. If a person is promoting a harmful idea, how are we [any] different if we get up attacking them? We should double down on truth and reconcile with people in that regard,” he said.
Following the two talks of the day, those in attendance celebrated Mass and concluded the day with dinner and fellowship.
“We are called to minister to people,” said Anyanwu. “Through that, they will see Jesus.”
For more information on Chika Anyanwu, visit her website at https://www.chika.church/.
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