A few weeks ago we gathered for the very first Western U.S. Emmanuel weekend. More than twenty members of the community scattered across the country, mostly from different parts of California and Texas, came together in Orange County, CA for two days of praise, teachings, Adoration, and fraternal time. For me personally and for so many of the brothers and sisters I talked with, this weekend was a time of renewed joy and encouragement in our call to live the graces of Emmanuel in our current, sometimes isolated, situations.
We heard teachings from Richard and Danelle Borgman, who shared about their life as international missionaries and the story of how they came to the Catholic Church through God’s Mercy and the maternal love of Mary. Richard encouraged us to evangelize using the approach of Mercy, and explained that we can relate to all types of people by remembering that we are all looking for the same 3 things: a perfect father, a perfect mother, and imperfect brothers and sisters who are loving and lovable.
From praising together in multiple languages (including a time of praise with students on mission from ESM Rome) to bowling together, there was a feeling of unity even between brothers and sisters who were meeting for the first time. We heard testimonies of the new households that are forming in different areas of the country, and witnessed steps of both Commitment and Welcome & Discernment in the Community. One of the texts we received was Isaiah 41:8-10:
But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend, I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
This weekend was an encouragement to pray that God will lead us to the brothers and sisters He is calling into the Emmanuel Community. It is such a joy to be together, so we are planning to reunite again this year, probably in Texas. If you live in the West part of the U.S. and want to join us, contact the California or Texas groups on the Local Communities page!
Written by: Bridget (CA)