Dear VDC members, servants and sponsors!
I would like to welcome you to the first day of the retreat. As the new bishop of this diocese, I in particular appreciate that the VDC retreat is also taking place in the diocese of Liepāja, because I believe that the VDC movement strengthens Christians for ministry. The Church is in need of laymen who are motivated and capable of standing in front of various temptations.
I wish you God blessing and openness to the work of God these days. I have myself participated in a VDC retreat and, even to this day, I remember this time and its positive impact on me.
God loves you and so do I!
+ Hans Martins Jansons
Bishop of Liepaja
LV 4, Table of Mark
Liepaja, 15.09.2016. A.D.
I was invited to the VdC. I was surprised, because I didn't know anything about it. But everything turned out that I could participate.
At the VdC I experienced again that God is close to everyone, He understands me in great detail, He invites have fellowship with Him. As if for the first time, I read, heard and did things I've read, heard and don…… It was my soul's defibrillation.
God did it, as only HE can do it, so that I could understand, see, hear and breathe again.
LV 17, Table of Elizabeth
Via de Cristo formed me as a pastor, and how I see my ministry and the cooperation between clergy and the laity in the Church of Christ.
I participated in Indiana's Via de Cristo in 2001, when I was still a layman. The experience I had was not like a flight on the wings of an eagle. It was more like a spark slowly begining to flare up in my heart. There is a saying in Latvia: that which burns slowly, will burn a long time. That is my experience with the Via de Cristo. Slowly, surely, and profoundly, basing my life on the grace of God, using the tools of the Via de Cristo method – Piety, Study, Apostolic Action – I have, through the years, grown in Christ.
If you ask me, why should you should attend a Via de Cristo, I'd say that it is a place to light a divine fire in your heart. It is a place to experience the grace of God in concentrated form, which in the noise and haste of daily life is difficult to feel.
If a pastor asked me why to send a congregation member to a Via de Cristo weekend, I'd say that it is a place where laymen can coprehend his or her unique role in the parish and the Church. There has been a lot of talk in Latvia about the “lay apostolate”, not really explaining what this means. Via de Cristo does not have all the answers, but the one thing is sure – it is a step towards this goal: making active laity in the Church.
What have I gained from Via de Cristo? Direction. A way to go forward with Christ. What does Christ mean to me now? He is my way, my life and the entire truth. He is my brother and my Lord. He is my grace and salvation. He who was, who is, and is to come.
Rīga's Cross Church
IN 36, Table of Matthew