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Fanning the Flames of Faith

Fanning the Flames of Faith

In-Person Diocesan Conferences Return

“We know an event provides an incredible catalyst to fan the flame of faith,” said Brian Kraut, director of evangelization for the Diocese of Spokane. Throughout the pandemic, the question of gathering in person has been fraught. First, we worried if it was safe, then who was vaccinated, and then if people were masking. Everyone had a different approach, a different tolerance for rules around “respiratory hygiene.” For us as Catholics, communal worship of God in the Mass is essential, and we returned to in-person Mass more than a year ago. Every Catholic who has felt safe to return to Mass knows now more than ever what a blessing it is to gather for worship.

Up until now, the diocese has not had many large regional gatherings. That will hopefully change this spring, with plans to host several conferences to fan the flames of faith in the diocese.

Throughout the pandemic, the diocese has had the opportunity to host a remote men’s conference, with small gatherings taking place in homes and parish halls, and to host our first ever middle school summer camp. As the weather turned colder during the fall, we began to wonder if we could gather in person indoors for conferences this winter.

“I think we know we’re at a time where we yearn to gather, more than ever, because we’ve had to be put on pause for the last 18 months,” Kraut said.

This extended pause has forced our parishes to be creative, and the diocesan Evangelization Office, the new summer camp and the growth of small, in-person youth ministry efforts have paid off. For the first time in many years, some parishes are relaunching middle school youth groups. “For us to have nearly 100 gathered for a week of summer camp was transformative for them,” Kraut said. “The joy for us is to see people back together, being able to celebrate Christ in the mystical body of Christ evident and present in those around them. [It’s joyful] to see and have a conference experience that isn’t limited to the computer screen, where you can enjoy the laughter of a room and you can be on your knees with your brothers and sisters in Christ before the Blessed Sacrament or even just joyfully gathered to pray the Mass.”

The diocese is working to support or host men’s, women’s and diocesan youth conferences in 2022. The questions, of course, will be: Who will feel comfortable gathering? What can people expect?

“Our desire is to have gatherings that will still meet people’s needs where they’re at, for those who are comfortable with gathering,” Kraut said. “But, COVID has given us an incredible ability to have all the tools and resources to stream. So, if you can be in person and you’re comfortable gathering in person, then we invite you. But if you’re still not to that place where you feel like you can be out at an event, we still want you to participate through other means, and so virtual opportunities will continue.”


Upcoming Spring Conferences

  • Catholic Women’s Conference – Jan. 29, 2022
  • Catholic Youth Conference – March 5, 2022
  • Catholic Men’s Conference – March 19, 2022

See www.dioceseofspokane.org for more information