“We as Catholics know that we are created for God who is the Truth. Jesus is God, Jesus is real”
Odilia Ramirez, a parishioner of Holy Trinity Church on Manhattan’s Upper Westside, was among the thousands of pilgrims at the New York State Eucharistic Congress, held October 20-22 at the Our Lady of Martyrs Shrine in Auriesville.
She was in the pews when Mari Pablo, one of the speakers, gave her presentation Friday evening, given in Spanish with simultaneous English translation available via an event app.
“I liked very much when she talked about how our hearts should be in unity with the Sacred Heart of Jesus – and how through prayer we are connecting ourselves with God,” Ramirez, born and raised in Guatemala, told The Good Newsroom in her native Spanish after Pablo’s presentation.
The married mother of a young-adult son added that she appreciated Pablo’s message on the importance of the Holy Eucharist, that “through prayer, through the Eucharist she connects with the Lord, and it is there where we must seek strength to carry on during difficult moments, in times of pain.”
Pablo serves parishes and universities throughout the United States as a ministry consultant through The Evangelical Catholic, a Wisconsin-based discipleship organization. The title of her talk was: “Heart to Heart: His Eucharistic Heart in Ours.”
During her talk, she spoke about the importance of knowing the truth, noting, “It’s difficult knowing what is true because we live in a world that has many lies. Finding the truth is sometimes a struggle…But we as Catholics know that we are created for God who is the Truth. Jesus is God, Jesus is real.”
She touched on the Gospel story of the two disciples on the Road to Emmaus, who did not recognize the Lord after His resurrection – they did not recognize the Truth in their presence, such as many Catholics today not recognizing the reality of the Eucharist.
“Prayer is the primary thing – without prayer, there is no relationship with the Lord,” Pablo said, noting the importance of praying to the Lord from the heart and guarding oneself from the snares of Satan. “The Lord comes with His Light. He knows all that you are, who you are. He sees you, He loves you, and He understands you.”
Pablo spoke of the significance of faith and trust in the Lord within the family amid personal struggles, citing a serious childhood sickness that she overcame following prayers in her family, among family friends, and beyond. She spoke of the importance of reflecting on the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Body and Christ, the Bread of Life, adding that when we are receiving the Eucharist, we are entering “the Heart of God.”
Citing the Catechism of the Church, she said, “The grace of the Eucharist is that it unites us with Christ, it nourishes our soul, it separates us from sin,” and it creates “unity with the Mystical Body.” Before and after Pablo’s talk, event attendees watched and listened to a choir from the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, which provided inspirational sounds of faith.
Pablo grew up in South Florida (both parents of Dominican Republic and Palestinian descent).
In her talk, she mentioned the war in the Middle East, noting the long history of the conflict and the importance of praying for peace in that region. She ended her talk in prayer, including prayer for all people affected by war, and for all of us “to be vehicles of peace and love.”
Pablo graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville with a double major in theology and psychology and holds a Master’s of Theology from the Augustine Institute in Greenwood Village, Colorado. She has worked in youth ministry for more than 15 years, including in New Orleans and as a high school theology teacher in Miami.
She is a presenter for Ascension Press in numerous projects. In addition, she makes presentations at the annual Steubenville Youth Conferences, NCYC (National Catholic Youth Conference), NET Ministries, Life Teen events, FOCUS conference, and diocesan events.