The following is the keynote address at the recent Tepeyac Leadership Night, which took place in June 2023.
By Dan Rosaschi
Congratulations to all our new Tepeyac Leaders. Thank you for your commitment to Tepeyac Leadership and thank you for your commitment as warriors for Christ.
I’d like to offer a little family anecdote to get started.
Sharon, my nearly saintly bride, and I have six children…three boys and three girls, who range in age from 19 to 31, plus an angel in heaven.
Way back when we were new parents, we might have been forgiven for thinking we would raise a family that lives in peace and harmony. Having grown up with three brothers and three sisters, I don’t know why I would have harbored any such delusions.
So, a couple of years ago, my very small framed youngest daughter was in a rather heated argument with my rather large framed older son…a lighter version of Cain and Abel as David vs. Goliath. And suddenly, I just marveled at the extraordinary trust in their vehement disagreement.
It was evident that they were both rather developed in the critical skill of taking a stand for something with great conviction…and that’s certainly a skill that should not be underestimated.
More importantly, though, it occurred to me that there was tremendous love and trust in their disagreement. Mind you, it was not entirely evident in the heat of the moment.
There was not the most remote concern that their argument would result in jeopardizing the relationship or banishment from the family.
While I’m sure they did not get together and think, “Hey, let’s have a fight to show dad how much we love each other.” That is essentially what happened.
Unfortunately, it took me the better part of two decades as a father to appreciate this unique expression of love for each other.
I relate this story, because these honest conversations are woefully lacking in our society. There is a lack of trust that our relationships can withstand honest debate.
I would submit that this is true across all aspects of our lives…in professional settings as well as personal, on a secular level, on a Christian level, and, perhaps most unfortunately, within our Catholic Church, as well.
As we gather today, I trust that Tepeyac Leadership has provided a forum for each of you to engage in these conversations and to develop your skills, personally, professionally, and spiritually; and to do so with courage, conviction, faith, and trust. I know these skills will make you more effective leaders in your respective communities.
It is comfortable to know that all of us here today, confidently gather as brothers and sisters in Christ. That each of us might emulate in some small way the effort of Saint Juan Diego, who built a church on Tepeyac Hill.
But being comfortable is not a luxury we can afford. Just as Saint Juan Diego needed repeated prompting from Our Lady of Guadalupe to get out of his comfort zone, we will need to get discomforted as well.
Our brothers and sisters in Christ are not only Catholics. Our brothers and sisters in Christ are every man, woman, and child put on this earth by our creator. This includes everyone. And it's not inclusion for some government mandated drivel. It's inclusion for the love of Christ that is offered to each one of us, which needs to be shared with each and every one of those who would seek our ruin as well as for each and every one of those who we might be tempted to seek their ruin (understanding I may be obliged to say ten Hail Marys for the thought).
In Saint Juan Diego’s time, the people lived under horrific Aztec oppression; it was not fertile ground for a resurgence of Christianity…and yet, that’s exactly what happened. Millions converted to Christianity.
And what have we today? Every day Christianity is under attack, in our courts, in our churches, in our schools, in our workplaces, and in our neighborhoods. And our enemy becomes bolder with each passing year. Is it any worse than the human sacrifice of the Aztecs?
And what is our good news? Well, as much as my prayers for our worldly shortcomings are long, my prayers of gratitude are even longer. People are practicing their faith more deeply and with a deeper curiosity in scripture. Efforts to support unexpectedly expectant mothers through and after their pregnancies are exploding. Science continues to validate our faith. From providing evidence of scriptural accuracy to the value of life in the womb.
People are awakening to the battle at hand…and it is a battle. Growing in Christ makes us a bigger target for Satan and refreshing our faith, through attending mass, repenting of our sins, and sharing our faith is critical to victory for Christ.
And this is the foundation of my gratitude for Tepeyac Leadership. While each of us fights our own battles, we are never alone. We are together in Christ and with Christ.
There we two things I did to prepare for today’s ceremony.
One, I did a cursory search on the internet to learn a little about each of you, mostly on LinkedIn. And two, I read all your leadership commitments.
While we have our Catholic faith in common, with the range of beautiful people from around the country and around the world, with so many different backgrounds, it occurred to me how the curriculum must have been so enhanced by the many perspectives brought to your weekly sessions. There must have been sessions when there just wasn’t enough time.
And that shined through on reading your leadership commitments, as well. Reading through your leadership commitments, I was struck by how your personalities and passion were so evident.
And this is where Tepeyac Leadership fits in. Tepeyac Leadership is not something you graduate from. You are a part of Tepeyac Leadership and Tepeyac Leadership is a part of you. It is something you take with you. It is something you lean on for outreach, for guidance, for feedback, for prayerful support. And as Tepeyac Leadership grows, so does our army grow to battle for Christ.
Practicing our faith, especially in its most discomforting moments, requires putting on the full armor of God. Tepeyac Leadership serves God. And we serve God through Tepeyac Leadership, which is a small piece of that armor.
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