Getting ready

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June 8-14, 2006
Getting ready
By Claudia Mathis/ SUN staff writer
SUN photo(s) submitted
Johnnette Benkovic to speak at Feast of the Sacred Heart as a prelude to conference

Reflecting on her ministry that began in 1987, renowned speaker and evangelist Johnnette Benkovic said the opportunity to proclaim the healing love of Jesus Christ and to witness to the truths of the Catholic faith in a public way has been a privilege, a grace and a joy.

Benkovic will be doing just that when she gives two presentations in the Syracuse area Sunday, June 25, at the Feast of the Sacred Heart celebration. The first talk, entitled “Authentic Womanhood,” is scheduled for 9 a.m. at a women’s breakfast at the Holiday Inn in Liverpool. In this presentation Benkovic will address three questions: who is woman, what is God’s plan for her and what is the mission He has entrusted to her? Benkovic will also explain why the Blessed Virgin Mary is the example for all women to follow in their everyday lives.

Benkovic will also speak at a family dinner at 5 p.m. at Gilfillan’s West Hill Catering Club in Camillus. The topic will be “Faith in the Family No Matter What!” Benkovic said, “With the family under serious attack in today’s secular culture, the Catholic family has a timely and urgent mission — to be a sign of contradiction and a beacon of light leading many to the Truth who is Jesus Christ. This talk will provide insight and guidance on how the Catholic family can fulfill this mission no matter the circumstances in which it may find itself, even the most devastating.”

The Sacred Heart Apostolate is sponsoring the celebration in honor of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which in addition to the two presentations by Benkovic includes Mass on June 25 at 3 p.m. at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Syracuse. Bishop James Moynihan will be celebrant and homilist at the Mass. Gloria Anson, diocesan director of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Apostolate, arranged for Benkovic to speak at the event. “I want her to talk to the people of the diocese so they can experience this spirit-filled woman,” said Anson. “I hope their hearts and minds will be renewed. Benkovic is dynamite.”

Anson said that the Sacred Heart of Jesus Apostolate mission is to revitalize families and is designed to help bring about a transformation of hearts by reinvigorating faith and love in the home. Their mission is to increase the awareness of the presence of God in the home where Jesus is the center of the family.

The Sacred Heart mission leads people to have an enthronement of the Sacred Heart in their homes as a sign of their commitment to live the truths of the Gospel and to pattern their hearts after the heart of Christ. Enthronement is the official and social recognition of the rule of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in families and society made permanent by a solemn installation of the image of His divine heart in a conspicuous place and an act of consecration.

Anson held an enthronement in her home 32 years ago and hasn’t stopped talking about it since. “When I, my husband and four children had the enthronement, we entrusted our family to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He took up residence in our home,” said Anson. “We now have a place where we can call to mind the Heart of Jesus. It’s in the center of our home and lives. That very night, we were renewed. Our values changed. We need that today — we have to have a place in our homes where we realize that God is with us. When I knelt down with my family at the altar in my home, I felt I was on holy ground. From that moment on, there’s been a fire in my heart.”

Benkovic is founder and president of the Catholic evangelization apostolate, Living His Life Abundantly®. “The mission of Living His Life Abundantly® is to proclaim the love of Jesus Christ and the truths of our Catholic faith through all manner of communications,” said Benkovic. She is also founder and president of Women of Grace®, an outreach of the Living His Life Abundantly® apostolate. The new outreach began in 2003, specifically for women. Women of Grace® seeks to affirm women in their dignity and vocation as daughters of God and in their gift of authentic femininity by exploring all aspects of the person including her spirituality, psychology, emotional reality and physical being. Through an effective and intelligent campaign, Women of Grace® promotes the dignity of each woman, the grace of true womanhood and woman’s fundamental call and mission in the world.

Benkovic has also been active in the field of Catholic communications since 1987. She is host of “The Abundant Life Television Program” (EWTN) and “Moments of Truth Live” (Catholic radio.) The author of five books, including Full of Grace: Women and the Abundant Life, Benkovic is a popular conference speaker and retreat facilitator. “Through all of our outreaches and efforts, we hope to bring people into an ever-deepening relationship with Jesus Christ so that they might be His witnesses in the culture of the day,” said Benkovic. “We believe that this culture can be reclaimed for Jesus Christ in one generation if we as Catholics bring the truths of our faith to bear in the temporal order.”

Benkovic will also be speaking at the Sacred Heart Family Conference at the Holiday Inn in Liverpool that is scheduled for Aug. 23 through Aug 26, 2007, which is also the 10th anniversary of the Diocese of Syracuse’s enthronement to the Sacred Heart. Bishop James Moynihan will be a guest speaker. Not only will local speakers be at the conference, but also national speakers such as Archbishop Raymond Burke and Mother Nadine Brown will be making presentations. For further information about the Sacred Heart Family Conference call the Sacred Heart Apostolate at (315) 492-6308 and to make a reservation for the Feast of the Sacred Heart event, call Mary Wilson at (315) 622-4392.

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