Diocese of Phoenix

The Life and Times of Blessed John Paul II with the Catholic Jacks of Northern Arizona University

On Thursday night, I had the privilege to speak at the Northern Arizona University Holy Trinity Catholic Newman Center in Flagstaff, Arizona. My talk was on the Life and Times of Blessed John Paul II at what is called – Newman Nights. The nights provide the students with guest speakers that come in to explain different topics on their Catholic faith. Fr. Matt Lowry, the Director and Pastor of the Holy Trinity Catholic Newman Center invited me up to speak. I know Fr. Matt Lowry from before he was even in seminary. He has now been in Flagstaff for just over four years and doing amazing work with the students. They are truly blessed to have such a fine young priest.

At the beginning of the talk, I told them to use the Twitter hashtag #BLJP2 during my talk if they liked something I said and wanted to tweet it. I also gave them my account – @tom_perna and their account – @naunewman. The first time I gave this talk I blogged about it as well but gave more information on Blessed John Paul II. Since the first talk on April 16, I have written many times on Blessed John Paul II, will do so in the future, and don’t feel the need to speak more about him here. You can view all my postings on #BLJP2 here.

Often people, who have tried to read his writings, find him difficult to understand. I understand this since I was at one time one of those individuals. After many years of reading his writings, and through the blessings of studying him, my lack of not knowing him has dissipated. When I advise individuals, such as young college students or high school students, on the writings of Blessed John Paul II, I tell them to begin with – Crossing the Threshold of Hope. It is my belief that this book is a good place for many people to start since it’s set up in a question and answer format and provides answers to important questions.

It was a true pleasure to speak to the Catholic Jacks at the NAU Newman Center, for so many of them are hungry for Jesus Christ and his Bride the Church. As one who has worked with high school students over the years, you can see in a young person’s eyes when they have found the light and the Truth we know to be Jesus Christ. Great things are happening in Flagstaff and the Holy Spirit is working.

I want to share one quick story from that night with you. After my talk, as I was walking out of the center to my car, a student starting shouting – “JP 2, We Love You.”  This of course was the cheer many young people shouted at the different World Youth Days during the Holy Father’s papacy. I mentioned this “shout out” in my talk. This young man was inspired to affirm my talk on #BLJP2 by cheering it and it was exciting to hear. I don’t know his name, but THANK YOU!! You made my night with your excitement for Blessed John Paul II.

To support the work of the Holy Trinity Catholic Newman Center, please make a contribution here.

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