SPECIAL TO THE CATHOLIC HERALD
National and international Catholic Evangelist Justin Fatica, executive director of Hard as Nails Ministries provides a new means of evangelization that focuses on caring for others by accompanying them in their suffering. Since 2002, he and 42 missionaries have traveled nationally and internationally, speaking at thousands of events, bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to others in an energetic, innovative and slightly edgy manner.
From Sept. 29 to Oct. 2, Fatica will bring his passion and inspired message of faith, hope and love to youth and families in the Kenosha and Racine areas as a guest of St. Anne Catholic Church in Pleasant Prairie, St. Catherine High School and St. Lucy Catholic Church in Racine. Accompanying Fatica will be Rev. Peter John Cameron, O.P., director of formation of Hard as Nails Ministries.
St. Anne’s You’re Amazing Family Parish Mission builds on the traditional parish mission model and is designed to provide a special encounter with Jesus Christ, reaching every segment of the parish community, from grammar school children through high school, college, parents and the senior community. The theme of the mission is “Living Passion/Passion Living.”
Hard as Nails Ministries is a national Catholic evangelization apostolate with a special outreach to youth. Fatica was the star of the HBO documentary “Hard as Nails” and is the author of two best-selling books. He and a team of 18- to 25-year-old-volunteer missionaries traverse the country evangelizing by way of 16 different types of Hard as Nails events, all in the promotion of its mission: “To awaken the world to the power of God’s love.”
According to Richard Sosa, director of music and youth ministry at St. Anne, the mission will include presentations on Tuesday night for adults. Fatica and two missionaries will lead high school students from a place of complacent Christianity to living a lifestyle of faith with talks on living the baptismal call, being a witness and more.
“These students will face their challenges, encourage one another, and learn the meaning of suffering and the importance of a relationship with Christ and the community,” he explained. “Two missionaries will lead middle school students in a similar way, but the material is lessened in intensity and depth, as well as the way they interact with students. This presentation allows for students to be reached at a young age to provide a base of faith, hope and love that guide them to a more secure future.”
Missionaries will lead children from kindergarten through fifth grade in learning worship songs, bible reflections and other fun activities. Fatica will also read his children’s book, “You’re Amazing” to the children.
Wednesday evening will feature a full family program for the entire family, encouraging parental leadership, forgiveness, love and family unity.
“Families and communities unite with each other with Christ as the focus in a new, vital and impactful way,” said Sosa. “Fr. Peter John Cameron will join the mission and speak this night as well as Justin.”
Ordained in 1986, Fr. Cameron served as the chairman of the Department of Homiletics at St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie, New York. He is an author and the founding editor-in-chief of Magnificat, where he worked from 1998-2018. Cameron assists Fatica in his spiritual decisions as well as the You’re Amazing Missions.
Mary Mowry, director of religious education, faith formation and sacramental preparation at St. Anne Catholic Church, hopes that the Holy Spirit ignites the parents within the parish community.
“I want them to joyfully, steadfastly teach their children to live in the truths of our faith, and that they come to understand how freeing such a life can truly be,” she explained. “I pray our families are inspired to develop a life of prayer and service within their homes and that all who attend this mission be filled with a profound sense of who they are and whose they are, beloved children of the Father and his disciples.”
Eric Antrim, director of youth ministry and adult formation at St. Lucy, is looking forward to having Fatica come to the parish and many have expressed an interest in attending.
“I feel what’s relevant today about Justin’s message is that we are all amazing in the eyes of the Lord,” he said. “I have seen over my years of working with teens this increased pressure put on teens to make sure they are involved in different sports, organizations and to be the best in the class. With all this pressure, I’ve seen more teens dealing with anxiety, depression and (low) self-worth more than ever. Justin’s message is so needed right now.”
Believing that we are in a difficult and crucial time in our nation and the world, St. Catherine High School Interim Principal Mike Arendt explained that the need for children to grow and develop their faith is extremely vital.
“The message that all people are important, and all lives need to be valued and all people, regardless of background or current situation, can be successful and all of that can be achieved through the power of faith. If we can energize our youth in the values that Justin and Father will bring to them, our students, school and community with be better places for this.”
If you want to go:
The You’re Amazing Family Parish Mission
Where: St. Anne Catholic Church, 9091 Prairie Ridge Blvd., Pleasant Prairie
When: 7 p.m. Oct. 1-2
Cost: Free and open to the public
All ages welcome
Free community meal at 6 p.m. both evenings
Sunday, Sept. 29
The team will speak at the 9:15 and 11:30 a.m. Sunday Masses. Justin Fatica, Fr. Cameron, and missionaries will split up among the different Mass locations.
St. Lucy Catholic Church
3101 Drexel Ave., Racine
6 to 8 p.m.: Justin Fatica will give a free presentation that is open to all