All that matters

    What matters to you? Or—perhaps more accurately—what should matter to you? I’m new to the Catholic Insight blog, and want to introduce myself by telling you what matters to me. It’s something that should matter to you, too, and I’ll explain why.

    I’m a recent post-grad and have dedicated a year of my life to work as a full-time missionary in Canada for Catholic Christian Outreach (CCO), to challenge university students to live in the fullness of the Catholic Faith and become leaders for the renewal of the world. I’ve chosen to do this because, for me, the one thing that matters is helping others encounter the profound and intimate love of our Creator; to experience the relationship with Jesus of Nazareth that we are each created to be in!

    The question of “all that matters” stems from St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians where he writes, “All that matters is that in any and every way … Christ is being proclaimed! That is what brings me joy” (Phil 1:18).

    All That Matters is the theme of Rise Up, CCO’s annual National Catholic Young Adult Conference, which takes place between December 28th and January 1st. The conference has been drawing scores of young adults from across the country for the past two decades!

    In the last five years, numbers of participants have risen and Rise Up has been hosted at a major hotel in Toronto (2008), Winnipeg (2009), Montreal (2010), Vancouver (2011), in both Saskatoon AND Halifax (2012), and now Ottawa (2013).  This year, CCO is celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary since its conception in 1988 with a Rise Up conference “unlike any other, bringing together past and present members with unique celebrations that only an anniversary can occasion.”

    If you are a young adult (hint: between the ages of 18 and 35), then I want to tell you why you should come to Rise Up and experience why proclaiming Christ should be “all that matters” to you, too.

    Why should you register for Rise Up?

    You will experience five days of jam-packed AWESOMENESS: morning sessions, all-you-can-eat brunch, afternoons free to explore our nation’s capital, and amazing evening sessions, all in a swanky hotel in the heart of downtown Ottawa!

    Maybe you have never experienced God’s love before, or think it’s impossible for Him to act in your life. Maybe you want to rediscover how to have a relationship with Him, or are wondering if there is MORE to your Faith than what you currently know. You will be motivated and inspired, and your Faith will be strengthened:

    “Faith is a flame that grows stronger the more it is shared and past on.” – Pope Francis

    “Missionary drive has always been a sign of vitality … missionary activity renews the Church, revitalizes Faith and Christian identity, and offers fresh enthusiasm and new incentive. Faith is strengthened when it is given to others!” – Blessed John Paul II

    “Faith grows when it is lived as an experience of love received and when it is communicated as an experience of grace and joy. It makes us fruitful, because it expands our hearts in hope and enables us to bear life-giving witness.” – Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

    You will make your mark on the future by responding to Jesus’ command to “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19), which Blessed John Paul II tells us is still very far from completion:

    “The mission of Christ the Redeemer, which is entrusted to the Church, is still very far from completion. … My direct contact with peoples who do not know Christ has convinced me even more of the urgency of missionary activity.”

    You will hear life-changing talks from renowned speakers you won’t find anywhere else, including but not limited to:

    • Sister Miriam James: a powerhouse in authentic life, love, and holiness. Follow her on Twitter @onegroovynun.
    • Henri Lemay: President of Catholic Charismatic Renewal of French Canada, leader and teacher on healing and the Holy Spirit.
    • Father Raymond de Souza: studied economics at the University of Cambridge, is the Queen’s University Roman Catholic Chaplain, Editor-in-Chief of Convivium Magazine, and a writer for the National Post.
    • Father Clair Watrin: in his fifty-fourth year of priesthood, helped to establish CCO in 1988, and giver of the most profoundly moving talks I have EVER heard.
    • George Devassy: a passionate, fun, and vibrant man of faith with the international Catholic charismatic movement Jesus Youth, where he served as the International Coordinator at the young age of twenty-six!
    • Brett Powell: inspiring leader, aspiring to build the next generation of Catholic leaders for the world’s renewal; Vice President of CCO, father of eight beautiful children, basketball player, and one of my role models.
    • Audrey Assad: independent singer, musician, and songwriter; Catholic. Her latest album Fortunate Fall may or may not change your life (it changed mine)!

    You are a part of the universal Church and, as such, will be responding to our popes who have repeatedly exhorted us to be active, bold, and joyful WITNESSES for Jesus:

    “The Church needs you, your enthusiasm, your creativity and the joy that is so characteristic of you.” – Pope Francis

    “Go and bring Christ into every area of life, to the fringes of society, even to those who seem farthest away, most indifferent … The best tool for evangelizing the young [is] another young person.” – Pope Francis

    “Young people are and ought to be encouraged to be active on behalf of the Church as leading characters in evangelization and participants in the renewal of society.” – Blessed John Paul II

    “Live fully 
this time in your life 
so rich and so full of enthusiasm. Realize that 
you yourselves are an example and 
an inspiration to adults,
 even more so 
to the extent that you seek
 to overcome injustice and corruption and 
strive to build a better future.” – Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

    You will gather with over 700 young, attractive people from across Canada in one place. Where else does that happen?! I guarantee you will make a ton of new friends. And, to top it off, the epic New Year’s Eve banquet is hands down the best dance party you will ever attend.

    So what are you waiting for? There’s no wrong reason to go … and every reason TO go! I want for you to experience why all that matters is that Christ be proclaimed, and to taste the joy that comes with it.

    See you in Ottawa!

    – Julia Bolzon

    Check out the Rise Up 2013 schedule for a complete list of speakers and talks. You can register here!