Living with passion is Father Pisegna’s message
“Come Encounter Jesus” is the name of the Lenten Mission that Passionist Father Cedric Pisegna is giving at Mary Queen of Peace Feb. 27-29 and St. Jane de Chantal March 3-7. He will preach at all weekend Masses preceding the mission.
“My style of mission? I would call it contemporary preaching,” Father Pisegna, 54, said. “I try to be real conversational. I relate to people in practical ways but it’s very orthodox. My main mission is to help people deepen their personal relationship with God. I want people to know Jesus, know God and have a relationship with the Holy Spirit.”
With so many searching for purpose in life, Father Cedric said he often centers his missions on a theme of becoming and personal growth. He summarizes the theme as: “Who you are is God’s gift to you. Who you become is your gift to God.”
Hails from Massachusetts
Many know Father Pisegna from his television program “Live with Passion” which airs on WLAE-TV on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. and Mondays at 9 p.m. He also appears on the Church Channel (www.churchchannel.tv) and other Catholic and secular outlets.
He said he grew up Catholic in Massachusetts, but like other young adults grew away from the church. He said he thought Mass was boring and, connecting Mass with God, thought God was boring. When in college, feeling lost and lonely, he began to seek God in his life. That led to a dramatic conversion in faith that he later wrote about in his bestselling book, “Death: the Final Surrender.”
“I had what I termed two near-death experiences at age 19, a religious vision that God gave me in a dream, twice,” he said. “God spoke to me, my life changed and I become a Catholic priest.”
Missions are his speciality
As a Passionist priest since 1991, he is dedicated to prayer, evangelization and the passion of Christ. Father Pisegna said the major part of his ministry is proclaiming and getting people to know the Holy Spirit.
“When I talk about living with passion, one of the meanings has to do with deepening your relationship with God. The second meaning has to do with growth and character transformation, and the third area of living with passion has to do with realizing your potential. God has put gifts in everyone, you face your fears, push your boundaries and reach out others.”
Father Cedric is a prolific writer and mentions that he wrote a book for teenagers in response to his own experience with religion as a teen – “God’s Not Boring.” Its title was suggested by a youth minister in Slidell, he said.
He’s written his 16th book – “Choose Life and Live” – scheduled for release this summer by JC Productions. It is available on his website www.frcedric.org and at missions. His works are sold at Mule’s Bookstore.
He said he was prompted to write this latest book because so many approached him about problems with their jobs, their children and relationships.
“It’s about making good choices in your life,” he said. “It also has to do with discerning God’s will in your life. I talk about loneliness, stress, aging.”
He invites everyone to the upcoming mission. He believes that a parish mission – he gives about 15 missions and retreats annually – should be an encounter, a meeting an experience with the risen Lord. The mission at St. Jane de Chantal will be filmed by Focus TV.
Local resident Margaret Livaudais found Father Cedric on WLAE and was mesmerized by what he was saying. In 2009, she went to his mission at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Kenner. Now volunteering in his ministry, Livaudais said he reaches out to people where they are in life.
“My life has been changed,” Livaudais said. “There were times during his talks where I felt like I couldn’t breathe. During the sacrament of reconciliation with Father Cedric, I had the sense that I was speaking to Jesus and receiving his forgiveness personally.”