Uniting Diocese in Prayer

By Kelly Luttinen

Tennessee Conquest Club’s apostolic project spans the diocese, with support of Bishop.

Knoxville, Tennessee — Uniting the entire diocese in prayer — this is the mission of a group of young men from the Catholic Diocese of Knoxville, Tennessee.

CQ30-1Twenty boys who make up the Conquest group from St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Oakridge, Tennessee, made a presentation of their apostolic service project to their local bishop, Bishop Richard Stika, hoping that through their efforts and with his support, they could make their goal a reality.

The Bishop met with the young men at the Chancery in Knoxville on October 16, 2013, where he heard their proposal to engage the Knoxville diocese in prayer activities, including Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, confession, praying the rosary and Stations of the Cross, and other events led by young people.

“All Conquest groups perform apostolic service projects every 8 weeks,” said National Conquest Director Todd Brechbill. “They can either choose suggested projects or create their own initiative, which St. Mary’s Conquest chose to do. Conquest challenges the boys to think big – and this initiative is far reaching – across the entire diocese!”

Afterwards the Conquest members made their presentation to the Bishop, he invited the boys to stay for lunch and then showed them around his office, including his impressive collection of St. Louis Cardinals memorabilia and souvenirs from the visit of Pope John Paul II at the Denver World Youth Day.CQ30-2

“I really enjoyed meeting the Bishop,” said Chris Romanoski, leader of the St. Mary’s Conquest group. “We had the opportunity to present our idea to him…to rally the faith of ALL the Catholics in the 51 parishes in the diocese. Our main goal is to harness the incredible power of prayer and promote that power, and by doing so, create a sense of unity in the diocese.”

The group plans to advertise their prayer program using parish bulletins, visits to parishes, social media like Facebook and Twitter and through websites in the diocese. They have created a promotional video and flyers and hope to enlist the help of other diocesan youth groups.

“The boys plan to visit parishes north, west and south of us, so they have a lot to do to spread the word before holy week,” said Margaret Merrill from St. Mary´s Youth Ministry department.

“The Bishop assured us that we could certainly publicize the event on the diocesan website and that he was very positive and encouraging about the initiative we are taking,” said Chris. “He liked the fact that we were able to envision and plan something like this ourselves, because he feels that, as a Bishop, he can think up some awesome events for our church, but the initiatives that really work and have an impact come from ordinary guys like us in Conquest.”