BY ELIZABETH WONG BARNSTEAD, THE WESTERN KENTUCKY CATHOLIC
On Dec. 4, 2018, clergy, parish staff, volunteers, school administrators and diocesan staff gathered at the Ballard Convention Center in Madisonville for The Art of Accompaniment – a day of prayer and learning to guide the Diocese of Owensboro into Year Two of the four-year Living as Missionary Disciples initiative, spearheaded by the Office of Evangelization.
Following Year One (“Encounter”), Year Two is focused on a theme of “Accompany.”
The keynote speaker was Kristin Bird of Burning Hearts Disciples, an evangelization-based ministry in Wisconsin.
Bird talked about evangelizing through accompaniment – walking alongside another person, not unlike how the resurrected Jesus walked alongside the disciples on the Road to Emmaus before they recognized he was the risen Christ.
“Accompaniment is about honoring the dignity and worth of every person who walks into our presence,” said Bird.
Bird challenged the participants, asking if “in our relationships – are we focused on getting that relationship closer to Jesus?” even if not explicitly discussing Jesus, she said.
The day included lunch and small group time, as well as Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament led by Bishop William F. Medley.
In his homily during adoration, Bishop Medley explained that the “Holy Eucharist is the most profound way that Jesus is with us… But if we leave our churches unchanged… we make it a mockery.”
“We are called to make disciples,” he said, “nourished by the Body of Christ.”
To learn more about evangelization in the Diocese of Owensboro, visit owensborodiocese.org/evangelization.
Originally printed in the January 2019 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.
Copyright © 2019 Diocese of Owensboro/The Western Kentucky Catholic