Southwestern Indiana's Catholic Community Newspaper

One Bread, One Cup Conference

By By Kate Bittner The Message Intern
Father Eric Augenstein uses a cultural phenomenon - a selfie -- during the One Bread, One Cup Conference.

            One of the best aspects of being a Catholic Christian is the unity we share with members of our mutual faith. The annual One Bread, One Cup liturgical conference at Saint Meinrad provides the opportunity to feel that unity very deeply.

“This place of perfect peace that is Saint Meinrad has truly helped me to become a better me – through living in community with the other interns and sharing my love for the Catholic Church with the youth during conferences,” said Maddie Messmer, an OBOC intern from our diocese.

            Participants learn and study many different aspects of the liturgy during the conference. Individuals focus on one part for the week and learn so much about how their prayer or participation at Mass glorifies God. They assess their talents and skills, and figure out how to use them individually to praise God. They answer a question here that they must ask themselves: “What can I do with all the gifts God has given me to lead others to Him?”

            Days begin with the morning liturgy of the hours prayer, followed by catechesis about the themes of the retreat: Word, Sacrament, and Mission.

            They learn that the Word of God is not just the Bible or physical letters on a page. The Word of God is truly alive and burning within us. The Sacraments are the greatest opportunities to receive the grace we need in our lives to truly become who we are made to be.

            Father Eric Augenstein, director of Vocations for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, related God’s grace to a gift that He gives us: the means to holiness, which we receive not because we deserve it; and sometimes we don’t open that gift, and we don’t let it work its true power within us. We are each called to a specific mission that God has in mind for us. We are each made for a very special purpose. We are called to be His Word and to speak His love in the lives of everyone we meet.

            After lunch, participants attend sessions that allow them to learn more about the individual liturgical function they are studying and to better understand the spirituality behind it. Then they put their new knowledge to use at the Mass that is celebrated every afternoon during the conference. Some examples of the many liturgical courses are altar server, cantor development, instrumental, chant for the liturgy of the hours, prayer in the life of the body of Christ, and stewardship and hospitality.

            Evenings are filled with many exciting activities like the Crazy Hat Dance, the Monk Social, and the Variety Show. But for many, the highlight of the conference is the Reconciliation service in the middle of the week. They are given the opportunity to celebrate the sacrament of Penance and to reflect on the imperfections of their life so that they can get a clean slate and receive a new beginning with Christ’s unending mercy.

            On the night before the last day, all times throughout the night in the wee hours of the morning, each group spends time with Jesus Himself truly present in the Eucharist at adoration. It is a beautiful encounter with Him, to experience the reunion of our hearts with His, to pray eyelash-to-eyelash with the very God who created us.

            It was a beautiful experience for all in attendance; and it continues to change hearts, lead others to Christ, and bring fruition to the vocations of the many wonderful young men and women of the Church who want to serve God with their whole hearts and lives.

            "When OBOC is over, someone may leave St. Meinrad, but it's impossible to leave behind the peace and grace that they experienced while they were there,” said Luke Messmer, a participant of OBOC from Jasper. “Even though everyone has gone their separate ways, they are still connected to one another through Christ at the altar.”