I was fortunate enough to attend the Emmanuel National Gathering in Long Island, NY two weeks ago. I’ve been discerning the Emmanuel Community for almost a year, after graduating from Ave Maria University in 2013. My best friend from college (and Emmanuel member) Juan Blanco, encouraged me to attend and man, am I glad I listened!
There were about 60 people attending the weekend- all from different walks of life: married couples, priests, young professionals with new families, young students, all coming from American, French, Italian, and Rwandan backgrounds! Needless to say, Emmanuel is very eclectic!
Despite the various social and linguistic differences, one that strongly struck me: the whole experience felt like family. Although I hadn’t met anyone before I still felt at ease and welcomed, almost immediately. Even with the friendly and warm atmosphere, I truly believe that Emmanuel has a strong charism of community and living out the mystery of the Church, the people of God, as a community rooted in God-With-Us.
On the last day of the gathering I discerned, along with the community, to make the first step of “welcome and discernment”. This is a step where you take 2 years of being actively involved in the community graces and activities to see if indeed the Lord is calling you to be a committed member of the community.
This gift was particularly powerful as I am also preparing to discern the Community through a year of discernment and service in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil. I first felt the call to missions in 2009 and will be discerning living out that call in consecrated life or priesthood, within the Emmanuel Community. Please keep my discernment in your prayers.
Written by: David (SC)