Quad Cities area parishioners enjoy a Catholic Family Reunion

Photo Caption: Ready to take part in the rosary at the Quad Cities Catholic Family Reunion on Sept. 12 are Dan and Annie Tillberg and their daughter Rosalie.

By: By Tom Dermody

MOLINE — While only a few area Catholics could attend this week’s World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, more than 200 turned out for the first Quad Cities Catholic Family Reunion on Sept. 12 at the Believers Together Center at Christ the King Parish here.

“Praying for each other is what makes a family strong,” said Msgr. Mark Merdian, vicar of the Rock Island vicariate, in welcoming remarks. “And that’s why gathering together as we do this morning is an excellent way to follow what our Lord has called us to do, and that’s to pray together as a family, as a vicariate, as a church,” said Msgr. Merdian, noting participants came from both the Illinois and Iowa sides of the Mississippi River.

“We’re a lot stronger when we work together, when we pray together as one — one heart, one mind, one soul,” he added.

The morning began with a rosary for family intentions led by Father Johnjoseph Logan, administrator of St. Mary and Sacred Heart parishes in Rock Island. Participants then attended one of four concurrent presentations designed for men, women, youth, and Spanish-speaking, while children 7 and under took part in play and prayer activities.

Devin Schadt of Davenport, co-founder of the Fathers of St. Joseph, outlined the four stages of great fathers, taking the men through becoming trusting sons, men, fathers, and leaders. He repeatedly stressed the need for self-giving love and daily prayer.

“If we become the fathers we are called to be, we can change this world,” he told the men.

Sister Sara Kowal, SCTJM, a campus minister at Peoria Notre Dame High School, outlined for women attendees the eight tasks to become a woman of the Gospel. They include being a daughter of the faith, a woman of prayer, having a spousal and receptive heart, becoming a gift for others, being a mother (spiritual or biological), knowing how to suffer fruitfully, teaching the world how to love, and becoming a missionary of the Gospel and authentic femininity.

Father Chase Hilgenbrinck spoke to youth attending the reunion, while Father Fredi Gomez Torres had a session for Spanish-speaking Catholics.

Sponsored by the Quad-Cities New Evangelism Network, the morning also featured family play activities including an inflatable obstacle course and a taco bar provided by LaFlama.

Among those in attendance were about 10 area priests and representatives of several religious communities.

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