Worshippers take part in Eucharistic adoration at the Shalom Festival at St. Theresa Church in Edmonton May 30.

WCR PHOTO | RAMON GONZALEZ

Worshippers take part in Eucharistic adoration at the Shalom Festival at St. Theresa Church in Edmonton May 30.

June 15, 2015
RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

Catholics have to proclaim the truth, says charismatic preacher Robert Valiante.

"The truth needs to be proclaimed," Valiante said. "When was the last time you proclaimed it?"

Speaking to about 700 people at a recent festival, he said Catholics have the right and the duty to evangelize.

Valiante, a member of St. John Newman Parish in Scranton, Penn., was one of several evangelists who addressed Edmonton's first Shalom Festival at St. Theresa Church May 30.

The festival was a dynamic celebration of faith that included the celebration of the Eucharist, spirit-reviving talks, prayer sessions, adoration and soul-stirring music by the Toronto-based All4Him Band.

Valiante said lay people must bring God's Word to the world because priests have little time to do so – only about 15 minutes each time they deliver a sermon.

Father George Kumblumoottil, a visiting priest from India, said apostles who are experts in the celebration, adoration and contemplation of the Eucharist are needed to evangelize the world.

"As St. John Paul teaches us, we need to spend hours before the Eucharistic Lord (before we go out to evangelize)."

Robert Valiante

Robert Valiante

Quoting from Pope Francis, Kumblumoottil, a member of the Order of Preachers, said evangelization is done on one's knees.

"It's time for us to kneel before the Lord and cry aloud to the Lord and weep before the Lord that the Gospel message may be spread in this world."

FACE OF THE FATHER

Valiante also spoke on mercy, saying Jesus is the face of the Father's mercy. "His mercy never ceases; it never comes to an end."

He asked his audience to think of a time when they felt God's mercy.

"Every time he forgives my sins he is being merciful to me. Every time that I receive him in the Eucharist he has been merciful to me. Every time he has answered a prayer, he has been merciful to me. His mercy endures forever."

Mercy, the preacher said, is the greatest of all virtues because it restores the receiver of mercy to the dignity they deserve.

We must be merciful "because Scripture tells to be merciful as the Father is merciful," Valiant pointed out.

YOU MUST FORGIVE

"As the Lord has forgiven you, you must also forgive. Pray for the other; that usually works for me. Don't just feel bad. Get into the habit of extending mercy. Make a phone call and seek reconciliation. Speak with the truth and genuine love. Talk with the person, not at them."

Valiant said we receive mercy by recognizing our need for it and by pleading to God for it. However, the plea for mercy must be heartfelt and sincere.

Shalom Media Canada organized the festival to re-energize people in their faith so they can evangelize the world, explained Varkey Joseph Kalapurayil, Shalom Media's regional coordinator for Edmonton. "We want to bring more people into the Church."

Shalom Canada hosted similar festivals in Toronto last year and in Fort McMurray a few weeks ago.

Judy Foronda-Oraa attended the event with her husband Jude in order to gain new insights. "It was very inspiring," she said. "Good talks. Good music. I feel closer to the Lord right now. It has been wonderful to be here today."

Norma Anne Power said, "It's good to be here hearing the Good News about evangelization and how we need to be out there sharing our faith," she said.

Another participant, Leelamme Thekkalakattil, said the festival helped her refresh her knowledge and faith. "Sometimes we are away from God and these things bring us closer."