Anchored in Hope at Rise Up!

“We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul…” (Heb. 6:19). 

Over 1,300 young adults, Religious women and men, and clergy descended upon Toronto at the end of December to participate in Rise Up, an annual conference hosted by Catholic Christian Outreach, aimed at deepening the faith of Catholic young adults and preparing them for missionary discipleship rooted in Christ’s love. Over the course of four days (December 28 – January 1), we heard inspiring talks drawing on the conference theme Anchored, and we sang, prayed and celebrated the Eucharist together. 

One of the great gifts of this year’s conference was the opportunity for some of the communities that have been part of the “55ish and Under” retreats to collaborate to offer a space for Religious and young adults to get to know one another. Eight congregations (CND, CR, CSJ, CSsR, FcJ, IBVM, and SNJM) joined forces to host a side event during one of the afternoon breaks. 

Entitled Heavenly Hosts (cleverly tongue-in-cheek, of course), the event brought together more than 80 young adults and Religious for an afternoon of art and games, snacks, and conversation in an informal setting. Between the laughter and the friendly competition, there were deep conversations about the life of the Church, how to discern one’s vocation, and the joys and struggles of religious life.

For me, personally, the conference and our collaborative event created a great sense of hope. Hope for the future of the Church in Canada, witnessed in the sincere desire of so many young Catholics to deepen their faith, give their lives to God, and be open to vocational discernment. I also experienced hope for the future of religious life in Canada, especially as a member of a congregation that in Canada is aging and shrinking in number. Working across congregations offers a new dynamic to support the mission of the Church and to excite young people about religious life.    

This conference proved to me that the Holy Spirit is on the move, shaping and enlivening religious life across Canada through the work and ministry we do together. Indeed, through the Holy Spirit, the entire Church thrives when we come together to work for the greater glory of God. From Heavenly Hosts to whatever comes next, I trust that the Holy Spirit will continue to guide, encourage, and bless our efforts.

Article by: Sr. Sarah Rudolph, ibvm 

Photos by: Sr. Michelle Garlinski, snjm


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