Awakening Our Faith

Awakening Our Faith
By CAMILLUS — The people of St. Joseph’s Church have been able to attract some of the most influential and profound speakers for their annual missions and seasonal retreats. This Lenten season, Father Daniel Lanahan, OFM, a Franciscan priest stationed in New Jersey, will be the speaker at St. Joseph’s from Feb. 23 through 25, at 7 p.m. each night. His pre-Lenten presentation is entitled “Awakening Our Faith in Challenging Times.” On Feb. 23, Father Lanahan’s talk will be called “Living in the Embrace of God’s Love.” The topic of the Feb. 24 presentation is “Forgiveness as the path to Peace,” and with the final talk on Feb. 25 entitled “Healing the human heart.”

Father Lanahan, a native of Brooklyn, was ordained a Franciscan priest in 1962. He received his master’s degree in theology from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. and a doctorate in moral theology from the Alphonsian Institute in Rome, Italy.
Arleita Wieczorek, a parishioner at St. Joseph’s Church, is one of the coordinators of the speakers coming to the parish. She said Father Lanahan came many years ago, and there were people who wanted to see him return for a retreat.

“Father Lanahan was here years ago and everyone loved him. He’s a very special person,” Wieczorek said. “There were so many good memories from his visit. There are a lot of new families here now. We had 1,200 families back then, and we have over 1,700 now. He had a great impact on so many of us that we wanted him back.”

Wieczorek said Father Lanahan has spoken candidly about his life experiences and has related them well to the topics he presents. His passion for his work transfers into the missions and retreats he gives. Father Lanahan is often booked years in advance, so it was wonderful to get him back, Wieczorek explained.

Father Lanahan was involved with priesthood formation at Christ the King Seminary at St. Bonaventure University in Olean, N.Y. and later at East Aurora, N.Y., where he also served as president and rector. During that time, Father Lanahan gave many retreats, missions and weekends of prayer. He has also served as religious assistant to the Holy Name Federation of the Poor Clare Sisters.

Wieczorek once asked Father Lanahan to write a review of one of the most meaningful books he had ever read. She wanted to include the review in her church’s book room.

“He wrote about ‘Life of the Beloved’ by Henri Nouwen. Just because of that review, we sold about 25 to 30 copies of the book,” she said.
Father Lanahan is the author of When God Says No — the Mystery of Suffering and the Dynamics of Prayer. Wieczorek said the church is very excited and pleased to have Father Lanahan speak.

“He’s a very spiritual man, very warm and friendly. But he’s also very down to earth,” she said. “I think everyone will enjoy his presentation.”
For more information, call the parish office at (315) 488-8490.

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