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Archives Saranac Lake family attends meeting of families

Sept. 12, 2018

MinersMiners Pope FrancisDUBLIN – When the location of the 2018 World Meeting of Families (WMOF) was announced three years ago, the Miner family from Saranac Lake felt it would be a perfect fit.

“The diocese sent ten of us to the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in 2015,” said Colleen Miner, who attended this year’s WMOF with her husband, John, and daughter, Ellen. “At the end of it, they announced the next one would be in Dublin, Ireland. I thought, “We’re Catholic. We’re Irish. We’re in.”

This year’s WMOF opened Aug. 21 and ran through Aug. 26. It included an opening ceremony, a three-day congress that included speakers and discussions on a variety of family-related topics, a Festival of Families and a solemn Eucharistic Celebration.

Pope Francis attended the Festival of Families and said Mass on Sunday of the conference.

“We were right near where Pope Francis entered and exited, and we had no idea,” Colleen Miner said. “We were standing waiting, and Ellen said, ‘Look! He’s right there!’ She got a great photo of Pope Francis going by.”

The Miners said they attended a variety of workshops and talks at the conference portion of the event.

“Ellen and I sort of fell into a really good workshop on marriage preparation, which is awesome, since Ellen is currently engaged,” Colleen said. “They talked about the importance of family and community. They talked about going back to our roots – talking to our grandparents and finding out what they did for their wedding. And they reminded us that weddings are community events.”

But it was a talk that only one member of the family was able to attend that proved the most memorable.
“Father James Martin was speaking about ‘showing welcome and respect in our parishes for LGBT people and their families,’” Colleen Miner said. “We knew it would be controversial. John went ahead of Ellen and me, and when he got there, they were out of tickets. He was able to get in, but Ellen and I weren’t.”

Colleen and John Miner, Respect Life coordinators for the diocese, said they brought brochures with them for Courage, a Catholic apostolate that supports men and women with same sex attractions who are trying to live a chaste lifestyle.

“I had a stack of 100,” Colleen Miner said. “I was almost out of my brochures when three men came out of the venue. They were wearing black, but I wasn’t sure if they were seminarians or priests. They couldn’t believe what they had heard at the talk. They were glad we were handing out the Courage materials, and they said we should’ve been in there talking instead.”

The Miners said they were approached by several media outlets for interviews, and John Miner was quoted supporting church doctrine as it relates to same-sex relationships.

In contrast, the Miners said they thoroughly enjoyed a presentation by Father Leo Patalinghug, a priest, chef and author.

“His presentation included a cooking demonstration,” Colleen Miner said. “He was very down to earth and relatable.”

“And he didn’t shy away from any of the controversy over here,” added John Miner. “He didn’t dwell on it, but he talked about what we need to do with our personal holiness to deal with this and get through it.”

The Miners also enjoyed a presentation on genealogy.

“For people in Ireland, ancestry is a big deal,” said John Miner. “During what we call ‘the potato famine’ and they call ‘the hunger,’ there was a great diaspora. It makes them want to find their family and connect to their heritage and roots.”

“One of the speakers said, ‘people ask why it matters; these people are dead,’” Colleen Miner added. “The speaker said ‘the living and the dead are bound together.’ It reminded me of the communion of saints and how we believe the dead still are meaningful in our lives.”

While in Ireland, the Miners also had the opportunity to visit Colleen’s cousins, who lived only 40 minutes away from where the family was staying.

“It was a great trip,” Colleen said. “We got a lot of great feedback from the people there, and we had a lot of people at home following our travels on Facebook. There was a lot of positive. I’d really love to see a diocesan contingent go to the next one, which will be in Rome, Italy.”

“It was a reminder of some fundamentals,” John Miner added. “There was some really good stuff, and some stuff I’d consider irrelevant. There was a lot of cause for hope, but also at least some cause for concern. I’m really glad I went.”

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