‘REBOOT! Live!’ draws 600+ to BransonBy: J.B. Kelly Branson MO
Internationally-acclaimed Catholic speaker and author Chris Stefanick came to Our Lady of the Lake Parish in Branson on Wed., April 5, to conduct one of his many “REBOOT! Live!” events that are being held around the country this spring. “Reboot” presentations center around a practical exploration and understanding of our faith and all the ways it’s meant to impact our lives, often complicated by technology and indifference.
“From the moment we come out of the womb, we come out looking for love,” Stefanick said. “The desire for love drives us to do many things. It drives us to want to be successful, and it drives us to want to be noticed, because we want love.”
More than 600 people, young and seasoned alike, gathered for the regional event that was touted as one of the “best Lenten opportunities” in the area, and the only REBOOT! Live! held in Missouri. Attendees represented parishes in Springfield, Marshfield, Ozark, Aurora, and many other southwest Missouri communities. Some even came from as far away as Salina, KS, to hear Stefanick’s insights on the Faith and its relation to one’s prayer, spirituality, work, dating, marriage, parenting, health, and more.
Stefanick told the attendees that they were part of the “great love story” of God and all that He has done through the history of salvation, and encouraged them to not let any one “page” of life define them.
“He made us to seek him and that is why we have an insatiable longing for love, because he wants us to find him,” Stefanick said. “In the Gospel of St. John it says, ‘God is love,’ and he proves his love for us: when we choose not to seek him he came looking for us.”
Even in the midst of trials—whether illness, divorce, or any other challenge in life—one must keep things “in perspective” and not forget the great love that God has for each of us, Stefanick said.
He made us to seek him and that is why we have an insatiable longing for love.
While Stefanick’s message is profoundly serious, the international speaker, along with musicians, filled the two hour event with quirky anecdotes, prayers, and music. People connected with the music and seemed to really use it as a vehicle for prayer.
Stefanick also spoke on atheism, how the big bang theory fits into religion, and the seven steps to a deep relationship with Jesus.
He retold the stories of the lives of ordinary people who ended up doing extraordinary things. He drew from the examples of the lives of Blessed Chiara Badano, St. Josephine Bakhita, and Pope St. John Paul II, among others, to illustrate the power of faith and trust in “God Who is Love” in overcoming difficulties.
For example, Blessed Chiara Luce Badano was a young woman who died at the age of 18 from a cancer called Osteogenic Sarcoma. She was so sure of her love for Jesus and his love for her, that despite her debilitating pain and suffering, her faith never wavered. Declared a “Servant of God” by her Bishop, it is said that Badano interceded with a miracle, to save a young boy who was dying of meningitis. Badano is the first member of Generation X to be beatified.
Stefanick is particularly well-known among young people and those involved in youth ministry in the Catholic Church as he has been a keynote speaker at Steubenville Mid-America Youth Conferences and the National Catholic Youth Conference—both of which are attended by youth of this diocese—and other venues. “REBOOT!” drew many young people for whom this was their first opportunity to hear Stefanick in person.
“‘REBOOT! Live!’ was an amazing experience for me,” said Cora Dwyer, a member of the St. Joseph Parish youth group in Springfield. “I’ve never heard anyone talk in the intriguing and attention-grabbing way he does, especially about such topics as religion that can often be hard to listen to for my age group. He really knows how to speak to those of all ages effectively.”
Eve Salomon, a member of the St. Joseph Parish youth group, said that she appreciated Stefanick’s “energy” and his practical tips on growing in holiness, “a list of steps and how to follow them.”
“The jokes and one-liners sprinkled throughout added to his personal speaking style and helped to keep it from becoming dull,” Salomon added.
Of the evening, Stefanick said, “I hope the people walk away with a deeper knowledge of the love of God for them in a deeper sense of purpose. …How to live in that love in practical ways, every day, that’s my simple hope.”
To watch some of Stefanick’s other presentations Online, listen to his Podcasts, or to learn more about his ministry in evangelization, visit www.reallifecatholic.com.
I reclaimed His love
‘Growing up Catholic there are certain truths that are obvious,” Bianca Salomon said. “The fact that Jesus is present in the Eucharist and that God loves me are things I already know. But sometimes we need a reminder to make these truths become real to us and not just words we say. We need to be enlivened in these truths.”
“I needed to be reminded that God loves me so much I will never be able to wrap my mind around how great, awesome, and (sometimes) scary His love really is,” Salomon said. “‘REBOOT! Live!’ was a big reminder and has helped me to reclaim that love more fully in my relationship with God.”