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Father Richard J. Gabuzda, executive director of The Institute for Priestly Formation (IPF), poses a question submitted by a luncheon guest to Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz during a question-and-answer session after the annual IPF luncheon, July 19 at Creighton University in Omaha.

Leader of U.S. bishops encourages faithful witness

To be a faithful Catholic in today’s world – “be yourself, and be your best self.”

So Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, encouraged guests during a question-and-answer session at the annual Institute for Priestly Formation (IPF) luncheon July 19 at Creighton University in Omaha.

In Omaha to support IPF, which provides programs of spiritual formation for diocesan seminarians and priests, and asked about challenges to living the faith, he said, “God wants us to be saints with all the gifts and weaknesses he gave us … to be witnesses that are transparent and genuine.”

Archbishop Kurtz addressed about 70 clergy, Catholic leaders and guests at the concluding luncheon of IPF’s two-day gathering “A Reason for Your Hope,” sharing the institute’s vision and mission. He joined IPF Executive Director Father Richard J. Gabuzda to answer questions submitted by guests.

He also praised IPF for its work of spiritual formation.

“IPF teaches a spirituality of giving and unselfishness in an intentional way,” Archbishop Kurtz said. “I see a solid grounding … and I get the sense that there’s a sacrificial aspect to IPF that is not just turning a seminarian in on himself, but is an outward movement.”

Speaking with the Catholic Voice following the luncheon, Archbishop Kurtz addressed the recent acts of violence in the United States and around the world, encouraging Catholics to practice what he called the three C’s – courage, compassion and civility, plus a fourth he now adds to the mix – calm.

“We are in such a frenetic age in which people are used to having immediate reactions,” he said. “But wisdom has always been begotten from a reflective spirit, so I think on all levels of our society, beginning especially in our own families, that instead of reacting to things, especially things that involve disagreement, we can begin to respond rather than react.

“A response takes into account a thinking through, reflecting, what I would call a measured action,” he said. “And we need more of that in our society.”

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