Gathering in Anaheim over Labor Day weekend from more than a score of states and several nations, thousands of people attended the 42nd annual SCRC Catholic Renewal Convention, where they were urged to "Take Courage, Have Faith" and walk with the Lord toward holiness.Nearly 10,000 adults, teens and children — including 1,200 who attended the 10-session "Set Free" talks by world-renowned experts in deliverance ministry — converged at the Anaheim Convention Center Aug. 30-Sept. 1 for a variety of workshops, concerts and liturgies focusing on spiritual renewal in the Year of Faith.Dr. Margarett Schlientz, the opening speaker for the first "Set Free" talk Aug. 30 on "God's Healing Love," said that the faithful today don't "ask God enough" for help, in contrast to the Gospel's Bartimaeus, whose request to Jesus to heal his blindness was granted."I think one of the great weaknesses since Vatican II is a loss of expectant faith, a lack of trust that God wants to do miracles in our lives," said Schlientz, who holds master's degrees in theology and spirituality and a doctorate in psychiatric nursing."When [God] looks into our bodies, our minds and our spirits, he desires to bring us to wholeness," stated Schlientz, who added that people get easily discouraged when they think nothing has happened in response to their prayers."That's the lie of Satan," she declared. "Something always happens. You may not be able to register it, but God is working. God never ignores our prayer."Co-presenter Msgr. James Mancini, a retired pastor who served for 30 years as an exorcist for the Diocese of Little Rock, Arkansas, said that Jesus wants to complete us by not only forgiving sins in the sacrament of reconciliation but renewing the penitent."That's what reconciliation achieves: healing and restoration," explained Msgr. Mancini. God "wants us to grow in goodness and happiness."Growing in God's grace through challenges, sorrows and trials was the topic of Father George Reynolds' Friday afternoon workshop, "The Lord is Our Keeper."Father Reynolds, associate pastor at St. Barnabas Church in Long Beach, noted that Psalm 121 talks about how God walks with his people even in the most trying of times. He then turned to Matthew 5: 11-12 (the Beatitudes) which says, "Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness...""Welcome to the reality of being a Christian; you will be persecuted," said Father Reynolds, pointing out that Jesus was not exempt from suffering during his human journey on earth."You and I, as we are loved by God the Father, we will all have to journey in that challenge of suffering, dealing with the mystery of evil and not being overwhelmed," said Father Reynolds."Evil does not win unless we are complacent and compliant and we disregard God's holy commandment to recognize his power and to walk with God. All of us — Christians, Jews, Muslims or any person of good will or good faith — have a holy obligation to stand up and witness against evil."We also have a holy obligation to understand how suffering can bring us closer to the God that we love who is here to help us toward eternal life," he continued. “God will walk with us and help us to recognize that we need to have a right focus of the path to salvation that comes from a true interdependence on God that helps us to be the full human being we are created to be, so every human being has a right trajectory."If we want to believe that the Lord journeys with us unto the end of time, that he walks with us and he will give us the strength to overcome adversity and that we can stand up against evil and actually see evil destroyed, then we have to be faithful to the full teachings of the church. That is our salvation ticket. Salvation unfolds.”In his late Friday afternoon arena talk, "Continuing Conversion: Let My People Grow," Deacon Alex Jones, a former Pentecostal pastor and Catholic convert who serves as a permanent deacon in the Archdiocese of Detroit, shared that God calls his people to conversion, over and over again."God is calling you to conversion that is life changing and eternal,” declared Jones. “We’re not going to touch this generation with theology, [or] apologetics [or] true faith and tradition [or] the rewards of heaven and the fear of hell. We’re going to need the presence of God flowing through us as channels of his grace. We’re going to have to change our tactics and come up with new tactics, new language, new outlets to reach this generation — or in 50 years, there may not be much of a church left.“If we’re going to survive as the people of God, we’re going to have to know him in a new and powerful way. Old clichés are going to have to drop away. We’re going to have to really give ourselves to be channels of God’s grace.”Following the talk, Betty Shoop, 71, who came to the event with two fellow parishioners from St. Joseph Church in Barstow, said many of Jones’ comments resonated with her.“I think he’s calling us to that new evangelization, that new tactic,” said Shoop. “We have to be the new vessel, we have to be. Just the love of Christ in us is what they’re going to see. Kids like to see the real truth. We can’t be wishy-washy, and we can’t be artificial anymore. No quick fixes.” Jonathan Niepke, 15, attending the convention with his parents and five siblings from St. Peter Chanel Church in Hawaiian Gardens, said he has enjoyed coming to the SCRC convention “for almost as long as I’ve been born. I love hearing the talks, and I especially love the healing Masses and the big huge Masses in the arena.”His mother Linda, 45, added: “We have been very blessed. It’s such an inspiration to come here and see so many Catholics and so many different [religious] orders. We all come together and the Mass is so beautiful.”Carmelite Sister of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles Timothy Marie, who began attending SCRC conventions in 1987, said she appreciates the many workshops and personal testimonies.“The thing I like about the SCRC Convention is that the teachings, in my opinion, seem to be sound, based on the Gospel. I like that very much,” said Sister Timothy Marie.{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2013/0906/scrc/{/gallery}