I learned that CCO would be holding an Impact mission in Calgary when I was serving a pastoral year of internship there as a seminarian in St. Bonaventure Parish. I had first encountered the movement in 2005 through a Rise Up conference, but I had little other knowledge of CCO’s work. Still, I knew enough to begin begging our pastor to consider hosting a team in our parish. He agreed.
Impact brought countless blessings to my city, my parish and me that summer. Among them? Exposure to the evangelizing tools that CCO has spent more than 20 years creating and refining. One that stood out was a clever little booklet called “The Ultimate Relationship” or, more colloquially, the UR. (I also discovered that acronyms abound in CCO…)
The UR is a tool to communicate the fundamental tenets of our faith clearly and simply during a brief encounter. It impressed me but as a seminarian, and now a priest, I don’t often find someone who needs basic evangelization. I wondered if I would ever find myself in a position to use it.
Early in my first pastoral assignment as a priest, I discovered part of my parish community that needed basic evangelizing: parents presenting their children for baptism. Some parents find faith central to their lives, but sadly, they are an extreme minority. The rest are people of goodwill who somehow desire faith for their child. Perhaps they are not faithful themselves but they are open to evangelization.
I set out to integrate the UR into our first session in preparing for baptism. Before considering what baptism is, we discussed why it matters: because it draws us into the Ultimate Relationship. The group discussed each point, as did parents, privately. My parishioners seemed engaged and responsive, intently reviewing each page of the UR with me.
After the first session, a couple approached me at the break to “confess” they weren’t attending church as regularly as they knew they should. Now, seeing the relationship into which God was inviting them, they felt urged to return to the practice of their faith. If that’s not a UR glory story, then I don’t know what is!
By Fr. Cristino Bouvette
Associate Pastor of St. Albert the Great Parish, Calgary, AB
Preview and purchase the new Ultimate Relationship at cco.ca/store