- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 5, 2014

The 25th annual East of the River Revival starts Monday, offering four days of faith-based events for the young and old hoping to reconnect with their religion.

This year’s revival theme is “Jesus, Show Us the Way,” a message that Msgr. Ray East said ties in well with the local synod called by Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, earlier this year in honor of the archdiocese’s 75th anniversary.

“It’s about relationship and getting members to be in a relationship with God and a relationship with each other in terms of building up the kingdom of God,” said Msgr. East, who has been a part of the revival since its start in 1989. “The kingdom of God we’re talking about is right here on earth. We want to make an impact, a positive impact on Southeast Washington.”

A positive effect was the reason the revival got its start 25 years ago.

The Archdiocese of Washington is divided into 13 jurisdictions or “deaneries,” and “Southeast is one of the 13 deaneries,” Msgr. East said. The Southeast deanery has always been very active, and the hope was to find a way to work together and involve evangelization.

“The Southeast deanery has a tradition of over the last 40 to 45 years of parishes working together with great unity to solve some of the pressing problems we faced east of the river,” Msgr. East said. “Key among those would be unemployment, violence, health disparity, those kinds of social problems, and the difficulty of families being able to come together and sustain a quality of life.”

The first day of this year’s revival begins at 7 p.m. Monday at the Church of the Incarnation in Northeast. The program, titled “Come to Jesus,” will be led by the Rev. Raymond Moore.

“It’s for people who have strayed away, wandered away, moved away from their faith,” Mr. Moore said. “And it’s for those who haven’t, but want a personal encounter with Christ.”

The revival’s second day focuses on young people. Youth Night is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at Saint Joseph of Largo, and the program is called “Let the Children Come.”

The goal of Youth Night is to encourage younger Catholics to come back to the church, said the Rev. Everett Pearson, who is leading the program.

Mr. Pearson said over time he has seen a decline in the number of young people attending church services, something he pins on a “failure of family.”

“When family was involved, the youth were there,” he said, adding that it’s important to get young people to come back to the church because “it’s not that they’re the future of the church, they are the church.”

The third day focuses on reconciliation with the theme “I’ve Got to Clean Up What I’ve Messed Up.” The program begins at 7 p.m. at Mount Calvary Catholic Church and will be led by revival newcomer Francine Dove Hawkins.

“My goal is to facilitate folks receiving confession,” she said. “I would like for the whole church to go to confession that night and be prepared to be reconciled with Christ.”

The revival’s final day was going to include a mass with Cardinal Wuerl at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Southeast, but an as yet unnamed replacement will be lead it because the cardinal is in Rome for the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops.

What makes the revival unique, Msgr. East said is that it is “authentically catholic.”

“We’re connected with the larger church around the world,” he said. “There’s a beautiful sacramental dimension. We are connected by the Eucharist, by our baptism, by those moments that we celebrate life and death. That’s a dimension that we bring to the revival. Not just the dimension of personal salvation.”

For more information, call 301-856-7087 or visit StJoseph-Largo.org/Announcements.

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