By Liz Sullivan
The faithful connected in San Jose for two days December 2-3 for the annual Faith Formation Conference (FFC). This year the conference had a bit of a different look as it was held at the San Jose Convention Center and it was in conjunction with the National Conference for Catholic Youth Ministers (NCCYM), which began a day earlier. It was the first year NCCYM held its bi-annual convention in combination with another conference.
This year’s theme for FFC 2016 was Connect in Christ and was sponsored by the Diocese of San Jose and the Diocese of Monterey. More than 2,000 people attended the Faith Formation Conference.
“Christ has given us this moment to reconnect with fire and with faith,” said Bishop Frank Caggiano of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut, during the Keynote address on December 2. “This [conference] is our chance to renew our ‘connection in Christ.’ How do we renew our communities of faith? We have to be intentional and be hospitable. The Church is not ending. Its best days are ahead of it.”
For the Keynote Speaker for the final day of the joint conference, internationally acclaimed speaker, author and youth minister Chris Stefanick addressed the assembled and spoke about “Is It Really All Relative?”
“Understanding the Gospel is a love story,” said Stefanick. “We’re in the middle of a love story. The amazing thing is that all of this love is given to us for free. When we lose sight of the Gospel we have nothing. A world without God is dark and there is no purpose. We’re all just out there looking for love.”
Leaders of the Faith Formation Conference announced that it will pause its activity and not hold a conference in 2017 as the Diocese of San Jose undergoes a restructuring of the pastoral ministries department. The purpose of the restructuring is to align the Diocese’s efforts with the three main pillars where Christ is made known: Word, Worship and Witness.
“Our hope, as we pause to take stock of the conference in light of new realities, is to continue to add value to our constituencies through ongoing training and formation,” said FFC Co-Director Steve Do in a statement.
The joint conference was capped on December 3 with a Mass concelebrated by Diocese of San Jose Bishop Patrick J. McGrath and Diocese of Monterey Bishop Richard J. Garcia.
“These days have been a blessing,” said Bishop Garcia, a former priest of San Jose. “They have been remarkable days. It has been a wonderful gift to connect ourselves to our wonderful God. We are called to be connected to love God and to love one another.”