By Father Timothy Gollob
Special to The Texas Catholic
Back in the late 1960s when North Texas was known as the Diocese of Dallas-Fort Worth, a wonderful event occurred. Four parishes in Dallas had creative young adults who recognized that the high school youth of those times were in danger of slipping out of the barque of Peter, also known as the Roman Catholic Church.
Karl and Gail Smith of St. Cecilia Catholic Church and Dave and Mary Beth Orth of St. Pius X Catholic Church enlisted the assistance of some young priests, e.g., Father Bob Thames, Father Dave Mikeska, Father Robert Wilson and Father Roch Kereszty. They designed a new weekend retreat which was held for the first time at the Dallas Cursillo Center in West Dallas.
The first group of teens came and were captivated by what they saw and felt, and the project took off. The participants went back to their schools and enlisted their friends to experience what they had encountered. All they could offer to explain the program was that good things just “happened.” Thus the retreat became known as The Happening.
These are some comments from some of these pioneers: “My life was changed. I felt that I had been on a mountain and now saw everything in a new way.” “My favorite part of the weekend was the Mass on Sunday. It was the closest to Heaven I had ever been!”
“I learned to play the guitar during the Mass at the time when the organ was the ‘normal’ instrument of choice.” “There was a lot of uninhibited singing!” “We had lots of group discussions with people who wanted to change the world for the better.”
“We were led to experience a deep, personal, worthwhile encounter with Christ and his Church.” “We had time to discover new friends.”
“I loved the Friday night ice-breaking exercises to the pounding rhyhmn of Iron Butterfly rock songs.” “Saturday night face to face reconciliation and the Eucharist with other persons with similar spiritual struggles continues to burn in my soul as fuel for Catholic faith and action.”
What happened was what could be expected of this group of inspired, inspiring men and women. There was much laughter and joyous music and many tales. Everyone was delighted to know that their friends had made a difference in the lives of many throughout the entire world.
The next reunion will be with the angels in Heaven.
Father Timothy Gollob is the pastor of Holy Cross Catholic Church in Oak Cliff.