Fort Myers | The Diocese of Venice warmly welcomed Scott Hahn — an internationally known author, Catholic-convert and speaker — to the 2019 Scripture Conference held May 18, at Bishop Verot Catholic High School in Fort Myers.
Presented by the Diocese Office of Evangelization, Hahn wowed a crowd of more than 550 as he gave several talks on aspects of the Scriptures, including on the Virgin Mary, the Eucharist, and the married family as the “first society.”
John Burns and his 15-year-old son Jack thought Hahn was amazing, noting that each talk brought a clarity to aspects of the Church or the Bible that both had been wondering about.
“I have a new appreciation of the Catholic faith,” explained John Burns of St. John XXIII Parish in Fort Myers. “That doesn’t happen every day.”
Julie Chase came from St. John the Evangelist Parish in Naples with a few friends because they have missed hearing Hahn speak at previous Diocesan events. “It was worth the wait. Simply wonderful. I’m a good Catholic and he spoke about things I thought I understood everything just fine; but now I have a fresh perspective that I think will make me a better Catholic, someone who appreciates what a blessing it is to be part of the true Church.”
Diocese Director of Evangelization Joshua Mazrin said it was a special honor to be able to have Hahn speak in the Diocese. Mazrin is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville where Hahn was his professor in several classes.
In Steubenville, Hahn and with his wife, Kimberly, founded the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology. They have been married 40 years and have six children and 18 grandchildren. Two of their sons are currently discerning a vocation to the priesthood in seminary.
The author of dozens of books on the Catholic faith began by telling everyone that the day was a “unique opportunity for us to take a look at God and his word, not only the inspired word we find in scared Scripture, the Old and the New, but especially the incarnate word, our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The opportunity arises from the fact the Church is still in the Eastertide (Easter Season), Hahn explained. This is because for Catholics, Easter is much more than one Sunday, and even more than the octave.
“We celebrate in the entire week after Easter and beyond,” Hahn said. “This celebration reaches to the feast of the Ascension (June 6, though celebrated in much of the U.S. on June 9) and to Pentecost (June 16). We are in the middle of a season of grace that is unique, and this is a perfect time to reflect on Christ and his teachings.”
Hahn spoke broadly about his conversion to Catholicism after being a Presbyterian pastor. He used to think the Church was in error in its teachings and actively tried to convert Catholics. However, his studies led him to realize that Catholics are privileged to read the sacred page within an unfathomable community: the communion of saints, the voices of Catholic tradition, the great cloud of witnesses from all of history. The guide is the Holy Spirit, working through the Church’s magisterium.
“In the Old Testament and the New, the Scriptures presume, prescribe, and describe the ritual life of God’s people — of us, for us. The Bible gives us both the content and context of the liturgy — even as the liturgy provides our context for understanding the Scriptures. If we read the Bible as it was written, we’ll read it from the heart of the Church. It is the heart of Jesus.”