Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Catholic Defender: RCIA Sponsorship

I recently watched one of my friends, Russell (Russ) Ford on Marcus Grodi's "The Journey Home".

Russ has one great story of how God can reach the heart of those who are in most need. 

This is a most inspirational story as He tells of being in prison beginning in 1987, serving a prison sentence for a crime he did not commit.

He tells of his conversion to the Catholic Faith through the witness of a fellow prisoner using the old Baltimore Catechism.

Being in the Alabama penitentiary Russell Ford speaks of some of the trials he endured and the pain he suffered and to the ultimate victory of finding the fullness of truth in the Catholic Church.

His testimony of discovering the Eucharist is most inspirational.

During the 25 years he served in the prison system, he has helped many come to the Catholic Faith.

He is the spiritual Father of nearly 100 prisoners who would follow him into the Catholic Faith.

Now, he is reaching many through organizing and teaching the ministry of evangelizing.

He is currently developing and providing catechetical materials to inmates of other prisons across the country.

Russell Ford has authored the book, "The Missionary’s Catechism", which I fully expect to get an autographed copy when we meet for the October 26-27 Marian conference in Springfield Missouri.

You can get the book through

I encourage you to back track and listen to both shows of a year ago, it is like a regular conversation, you will have the chance to hear much of his testimony.   This is perfect especially if your going to be in Facebook for a while or simply on the Internet.

One of the important messages I have taken from Russell Ford is his passion for those whom he Sponsors into the Catholic Church.  I must confess that over the last 35 years, I have been graced to have sponsored many people.

Many have asked me to be their Sponsor which for me is a high honor.  This last year I sponsored the youngest Soldier I took to Iraq in 2007.

He was barely 17 years old at the time and he conducted himself with high honor.  He was received into the Catholic Faith this past Easter Vigil in San Antonio.

Because of Russell's passion, he communicates well the importance of seeing RCIA sponsorship as a journey of faith.  This should not be taken so lightly.  Many times I might have sponsored people because they needed someone to step up which I am happy to do.

Over the years, I have not seen many of them because of time and space, but I take them all collectively and pray for them.  At this point that is what I can do.  I sponsored my Mother into the Catholic Faith and that was one of the greatest honors of my life.  I sponsored my wife as well, this can be overwhelming.

RCIA is kicking off and many are beginning their journey which will lead them to the Catholic Faith this upcoming Easter vigil.  At a minimum, pray for those who are stepping forward, the Candidates and Catechumens.  Support them when the Church opens up the rites for those making the decision to follow the Lord.

St Paul states,  "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church, of which I am a minister in accordance with God's stewardship given to me to bring to completion for you the word of God, the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past. But now it has been manifested to his holy ones, to whom God chose to make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; it is Christ in you, the hope for glory. It is he whom we proclaim, admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. For this I labor and struggle, in accord with the exercise of his power working within me" (Colossians 1:24-29).
This video gives a great teaching on the subject of sponsorship.

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