New evangelisation amid new age: Mind, Body, Spirit Festival

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Amid psychic readings and yoga workshops, essential oils and astrology, the Catholic Spirituality booth was a new evangelisation oasis amid new age offerings at last month’s Mind, Body, Spirit Festival.

The Catholic stall offered free items including rosary beads and an explanatory flyer, Miraculous Medals, prayer cards, and Lighthouse Media CDs featuring recorded faith talks on parenting, personal growth and prayer, the existence of God, and stories of conversion.

The priest on hand during busy periods was sought out for blessings and confession,

“Some people returned to Confession after decades,” said Catholic Renewal and Evangelisation Office director Catherine Kennedy.

The Year of Mercy “seemed to carry its grace into the festival”, she said.

Resources on forgiveness, including CDs and magazines, were very popular with visitors to the festival at Sydney Olympic Park.

“Many needed to hear about God’s mercy for them, some who were certain that they were unforgiveable,” she said.

Several wanted to know more about the Catholic faith, and some asked how they could become Catholic.

The Sister Disciples of the Divine Master hosted and supported Eucharistic Adoration at their Homebush chapel during stall hours each day, with the support of lay volunteers.

“We are very grateful for this important prayer support.”

Visitors to the stall were invited to write a prayer petition that the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master will pray for over the next month.

The volunteers on the stall, who had been trained to respond to questions, found it a positive experience.

One volunteer said she was “very uplifted” by her time at the festival.

“It was an experience of really taking the gospel to the marketplace and in this market place there was such an openness that I rarely encounter in everyday life.

“Of course people are open to all kinds of things and so the right kind of spirit that the Church has is essential to present in this format.

“I can’t but help think that Pope Francis implores us to look for new ways to evangelise and not just open wide the doors of the church but to find new ways of going out to people. This was indeed one such an example.”

Another said she was inspired by being a witness to the Catholic faith.