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Mission: Being A Credible Witness

November 6th, 2012by Deacon Royce Winters

On the weekend of October 19-20, 2012, I was a participant at Mission Connect 2012 that was held at Good Shepherd Parish. I really had not prepared myself for meeting the Christ at this event, but my eyes were soon opened by the wisdom of Sr. Janice McLaughlin, MM, the keynote speaker.  Sr. McLaughlin gave me a wonderful phrase from the African culture for transformation, “to be uprooted.”  This phrase I held onto as I drove home, as I slept and as I returned to Mission Connect the next morning.  I was wrestling with the idea of talking about transformation, but not being transformed.  The questions within me were, ‘Have I been open to the shaping and pruning of the Spirit in my life? Am I open to being uprooted?”  In reflection, there were times I was very open and times that I simply did not want to be bothered.   I was trying to pick and choose the moments of holiness.  On this night, the Spirit snuck up on me and I am grateful for the experience.

 I am grateful because the wrestling from the previous evening prepared me to receive the next treasure of wisdom.  On Saturday morning, Fr. Roger Schroeder, SVD, made the following statement, “As missioners, we must be credible witnesses.”  It reminded me of the Scripture passage from James 2:14, “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? In order to be credible, we must be prepared to meet the Christ in our daily activities.  I was blessed, for in these days God continued to speak even when I had not prepared myself to listen.  My experience at Mission Connect 2012 helped me to deepen my appreciation for the power God’s Holy Spirit to remove the assumptions and views that prevent me from respecting and loving those who are different than me in appearance, culture, religion and language. 

Photo credit: Royce Winters, used with permission

Deacon Royce Winters

Deacon Royce Winters is the director of African American Catholic Ministries for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. He has been married for 36 years and his wife, children and grandchildren all attend Church of the Resurrection in Bond Hill.