The Hispanic Charismatic Congress brought people from across the Midwest together for a time of retreat and prayer.
The congress was held Aug. 29-30 at the Sioux City Convention Center. This was the fifth year a Hispanic Charismatic Congress was held in the Diocese of Sioux City.
The term “charismatic” refers to a Christian who believes in the outpouring of divine gifts from the Holy Spirit.
“What we are trying to do is bring people to God,” said Fernando Sanchez, president of the diocesan Hispanic charismatic committee and member of St. Rose of Lima Parish in Denison. “This is one of the ways to bring people to God and be involved in the church.”
Throughout the weekend there were more than 400 participants. Sanchez was glad that so many people attended. He said that the congress is one way to talk with the people and let them know all that the church has to offer.
“I can see in the people’s eyes that they are having a pretty good time, like I am,” said Sanchez. “There are a few Anglo people here. They don’t speak Spanish, but I can see in their eyes that they like to come to this also.”
While the congress was in Spanish, all were welcome to attend. Sanchez noted that he likes to plan events with the Anglo people.
“We are one in Jesus’ eyes,” he said. “We can see the Lord in everyone, no matter what race or where you come from.”
The congress included speakers who taught about the Catholic faith and the significance of the sacraments. The speakers included Father Michael from Texas, Juan Carlos from Colorado and Roberto Ramirez from Miami.
“They are pretty good speakers,” said Sanchez. “They talked about the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church. I can see the results in the people. They have been talking about it. They are so happy we are doing this.”
During the weekend, there were songs of praise and the opportunity for reconciliation and Eucharistic adoration, as well as Sunday Mass.
Father Paul Kelly, pastor at St. Rose of Lima in Denison, was there to hear confessions and celebrate Mass on Sunday. He estimated that about 100 of the attendees were from Denison.
The priest said that events such as these “really motivate the people to become more active in the faith, and to evangelize more.”
“Everyone I spoke with commented on how well they liked the themes of the retreat,” said Father Kelly. “Diocesan retreats such as this one help people connect with others from around the diocese, and it helps people realize that the church is much larger than the local parish, that people in every place love the Lord and are trying to serve him in the best way possible.”
The word love
Maria Argueta, a parishioner at Cathedral in Sioux City, attended the congress for the third time.
“After this event I have energy. I feel like I can give love and good words to people,” she said.
Since she has children attending Catholic schools in Sioux City including Briar Cliff University, Heelan High School and Holy Cross School, she said she liked learning more about the church to be able to share with them.
She works at Mercy Medical Center in Sioux City and said this is a way for her to gain strength to talk to patients when they are in pain.
“This weekend I learned about the word love,” said Argueta. “The word love means time. How much love do you have for your kids? How much time do you have for your kids? How much love do you have for God? How much time do you have for God?”
She enjoyed the community and being together with her friends that are from Sioux City and surrounding areas.
“We can talk and share conversations and enjoy families from different places,” said Argueta.
The Knights of Columbus regional director, Ken Kafton, donated $1,000 to offset costs of the Hispanic Charismatic Congress. The Catholic Globe