The Catholic Family Life Conference gives parents a chance to stock up on educational materials for children and adults alike.

WCR PHOTO | RAMON GONZALEZ

The Catholic Family Life Conference gives parents a chance to stock up on educational materials for children and adults alike.

July 11, 2011
RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

The Eucharist should be the centre of our lives as Catholics, says an American missionary.

Speaking at the Catholic Family Life Conference July 1, Father George McInnis said the Lord deserves to be the centre of our lives as Catholics and at the centre of our family life.

McInnis, a convert to the faith, is a member of the Fathers of Mercy and has been a priest since 2007. At the conference, he urged participants to make a deeper, personal commitment to Christ and his Church.

"It's from our Lord, which we receive at Holy Mass and who we worship outside of Mass, that we receive that strength, that grace to live out our responsibilities as a member of a family," he said.

Grace, McInnis explained, "is that completely undeserved gift from God which gives us the ability to do what is humanly impossible, like be married to your husband for the rest of your life or to have to deal with your mother-in-law, to give birth to your children."

We need God's grace because "we don't naturally choose the good," he said. "Everyone is naturally selfish. Everyone is naturally gluttonous. Everyone is naturally proud. No one naturally is virtuous.

Fr. George McInnis

Fr. George McInnis

"If you see someone who is charitable and kind, if you see someone who is pure and chaste in this unchaste, impure world, if you see someone who is humble, tell yourselves 'that's grace walking.'"

We have this brokenness about ourselves due to original sin, McInnis said.

But Baptism forgives the guilt of original sin and frees us from the slavery of Satan. It makes us adopted children of God and infuses us with faith, hope and charity. "That's the good news."

The bad news is the effects of original sin remain and they express themselves in our failing intellect and our weak will.

Christ and his grace are the answer to our weak intellect and will, McInnis said.

"And what is our main source of grace this side of heaven? The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the real presence of our Lord."

If we believe that Our Lord can raise the dead, make people who can't talk speak, make lame people walk, then we have to believe that the Lord is really present in flesh and blood.

The priest said he realizes it sometimes can be chaotic getting a family to Mass.

"But once you're in the car, keep the radio off and pray something," he recommended. "Read over the readings for Mass. Prepare yourself; get yourself calmed down.

"If you plan on receiving Communion, ask yourself if you are disposed to receive Communion."