Elysburg church welcomes bishop, hosts Battle Ready rally
ELYSBURG - In a day of spiritual awakening for the faithful, two special events at Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Church Saturday evening gave parishioners something to think about in their own faith journey.
In addition to hosting a Battle Ready Rally featuring EWTN's Doug Barry, the Most Rev. Ronald Gainer, the newly ordained bishop of the Diocese of Harrisburg, was there to celebrate Mass.
Gainer, a Pottsville native, said he was thrilled to be back in the coal region. The church was
filled to capacity for the Mass; folding chairs had to brought out to accommodate the large crowd.
"As I was driving to the church, I was so thrilled to see the scenery here. I knew this is home, and I am so thankful for the invitation," Gainer said.
In his homily, the bishop reminded the congregation about the words spoken when they were baptized.
"We were always told by Jesus, the light of the world, when our baptismal candle is lit, that we should always walk as a child into the light," he said.
Gainer said these words should be like a vocation for everyone, steering them on their path in life.
He used the day's Gospel, the story of the blind man being healed by Jesus, as a metaphor for those who refuse to follow God's word.
"Those who are unwilling to see the light of God are even more crippled than those who cannot see it," Gainer said.
The bishop challenged the faithful to follow in the blind man's footsteps, and follow the light of the word of Jesus.
"In this season of renewal, the season of Lent, let us live up to our baptismal vocation," Gainer said. "Live in the light of God and dispel the darkness of sin."
Being "battle ready"
Following the Mass and a short meal, it was Barry's turn to address the congregation. The Lincoln, Neb.,native travels around the country to urge people to become spiritual warriors against sin.
"I am happy to be here today. I just flew in today from Texas, and boy, are my arms tired," he joked.
During his hour-long presentation, Barry spoke about how we take for granted even the simplest parts of religion, such as the sign of the cross.
"A saint once said, 'When you and I make the sign of the cross with love and reverence, we can make hell shudder in fear,'" Barry said. "Can you imagine how much power that is?"
Barry said people of all degrees of faith can be a spiritual warrior for God. He used himself as an example, calling himself a "clock-in, clock-out" Catholic.
"I would go to church every Sunday, put my fingers in the holy water, clock in, attend Mass, touch the holy water on the way out of church, clock out," Barry joked.
Barry spoke to about 100 people in the church, showing them the tools to help fight sin at every turn, and implored everyone, if they took anything away from his talk Saturday, to remember two sets of number 3, 7, and 9, and 4, 8, and 10.
"Those numbers refer to the Stations of the Cross, 3, 7, and 9 are the Stations when Jesus fell, but 4, 8, and 10 are when he got back up," Barry said. "God is with you every step of the way, so don't quit and don't stay down. It is written in the scriptures, 'Do not be discouraged, for I am with you,'."