Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, who is vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, smiles during a breakout session with other delegates from his archdiocese, July 4, during the "Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America" in Orlando, Fla. Leaders from dioceses and various Catholic organizations gathered for the July 1-4 convocation. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)

I didn’t know what to expect. From the very first session it was clear that this was no ordinary conference gathering.  This was an event that would have the potential to transform the Church from within so it can carry out its mission of being more effective in proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ as envisioned by Pope Francis. 

Despite the tough conversations on the challenges facing not just the church, but the human family throughout the world, it was evident that the Holy Spirit was present in the panel discussions, breakout sessions, and most especially in the liturgical prayer of the gathered community. 

I emphatically applaud the efforts of our U.S. bishops in providing an avenue for leaders working in the arenas of human imperfection to not only inspire us with the Gospel message, but to listen to the realities of the suffering experienced by the people we encounter every day in our parishes, schools, ministries and other peripheries. 

I learned that most of the suffering experienced in our world is a result of people feeling alone. The human story is our sole sense of connectivity. It is our human story that transcends the walls erected by our differences. The reality of God entering our human story is the Gospel, which transcends all ideologies.

The Joy of the Gospel is simply recognizing that God walks with us, speaks to us, breathes with us, works with us daily, through the person of Jesus Christ, made present in the sacraments, in His word, and in the community of the Church.  Jesus Christ is the remedy for our loneliness and we must enthusiastically proclaim this message as baptized members of His body.

I was extremely humbled and honored to have been invited to be part of the delegation with our leaders in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and am inspired to more boldly proclaim the Joy of the Gospel in my own family, church, and school community. 

Erick Rubalcava is the principal of St. Pius X-St. Matthias Academy in Downey, and the director of music at St. Anthony of Padua in Gardena, California.