Speaking Opportunities                                        

The Door of Mercy: Crossing the Threshold -- A Mission/Retreat for the Holy Year of Mercy

Stephen J. Binz—Catholic biblical scholar, popular speaker, and award-winning author—will offer parish missions and retreats on the theme of “The Door of Mercy: Crossing the Threshold” throughout this Holy Year.

“The Holy Door will become a Door of Mercy through which anyone who enters will experience the love of God who consoles, pardons, and instills hope… We shall cross the Threshold of the Holy Door fully confident that the strength of the Risen Lord, who constantly supports us on our pilgrim way, will sustain us.” (Pope Francis, Misericordiae Vultus: Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, 3-4)

These missions/retreats will focus on three presentations:
1) The Divine Mercy of Our God
2) The Sacred Heart of Jesus
3) The Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy

The experience may take the form of the traditional mission with three consecutive evening presentations or a retreat day on a Saturday or Sunday. These three core presentations may be given in the context of music ministry, readings and litanies, prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, visual presentation with Powerpoint slides, lectio divina in small groups, and personal recommitment to Jesus Christ.

“The Church must be a place of mercy freely given, where everyone can feel welcomed, loved, forgiven and encouraged to live the good life of the Gospel” (Pope Francis, The Joy of the Gospel, 114)

We offer a special invitation to the teens, the college students, and the young adults of the parish. We invite married couples, single adults, families – whoever you are, whatever your situation, everyone is welcome to experience the mercy of God. We encourage you to bring your friends and neighbors. In the words of Pope Francis, “I invite you all, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ.”

 

ENDORSEMENTS

 

"An engaging and faith-filled speaker, Stephen Binz shares his knowledge and love of Scripture in ways that are accessible to novices and challenge the more experienced to experience God's Word more deeply.  Stephen unites the intellectual, the spiritual and the pastoral to create an excellent adult faith weekend, and we'll be reaping the fruits of his time with us well into the future.  His session on lectio divina attracted a broad cross-section of people, young and not-so-young, lay and clergy, women & men--it was a true experience of being 'people of God' together."

Margaret Anne Smith PhD, Director of Adult Faith Formation, Diocese of Saint John NB Canada

 

The parishioners of our parish have not stopped speaking about how wonderful our Advent mission with Stephen Binz was! Each evening Mr. Binz engaged the audience, got them thinking on a personal level, and even brought a few to tears with his very personal stories of mercy and God’s love. We truly made a right choice in bringing Stephen Binz to our parish.

Ann Shevlin, Faith Formation Coordinator, St. Benedict Catholic Church, Atlanta (Johns Creek), GA 

 

"Stephen Binz came to our diocese to present two workshops to our priests: an introduction to Lectio Divina, and an invitation to foster Bible groups in our parishes. Later that evening, he gave a talk on Lectio Divina to about one hundred lay members of our diocesan Church. Both events were greatly appreciated, particularly since Steve unpacks the tradition around Lectio Divina in such a simple, clear and prayerful way."

+ Paul-André Durocher, Archbishop of Gatineau, Québec, Canada

 

"Stephen Binz’s “The Door of Mercy” Mission offered good spiritual refreshment for our parish and served as excellent preparation for Lent in this Jubilee Year of Mercy. Stephen’s knowledge of scripture and tradition, along with a deep faith and pastoral sensibility, make him an outstanding retreat leader. His stories and prayer services support a wealth of information in a gentle, yet compelling manner.  His prayer service for Divine Mercy literally brought us all to our knees and likely offered our parishioners a richer and more personal sense of the Sacred Heart. I would recommend a parish mission with Stephen Binz to any parish community that seeks spiritual renewal."

Rev. Joseph McMahon, Pastor of Holy Family Catholic Church, Brentwood, TN

 

"Our parish hosted a three day mission with Stephen Binz. Stephen was able to weave through the three themes with scripture references, stories and personal experiences. This approach made the presentation flow and the response from the community was overwhelmingly positive. We were invited to lay our troubles at the Sacred Heart of Jesus and left the mission refreshed, challenged and wanting more. Stephen was great to work with and very accommodating to our community. I would whole heartedly recommend Stephen to come to your parish and challenge your community in this Year of Mercy."

Dan McGowan, Director of Faith Formation, Resurrection Catholic Church, Lakeland, FL

 

Stephen Binz is someone I gladly recommend for retreats,  pilgrimages and parish missions.  Just recently he gave a  mission to my parish on the Jubilee Year of Mercy, tracing for us the biblical foundations of jubilee and applying the parable of the Prodigal Son/Merciful Father to Jesus’ teaching about the infinite depth of the Father’s mercy toward all of us.  Steve then explained to us a simple way to pray with Scripture that brings to life such powerful stories from the mouth of the Lord Jesus.  This award-winning scholar is a man of faith who loves to share his faith and his knowledge with parishioners and pilgrims alike.  He ministers as he teaches.

Msgr. David LeSieur, Pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Rogers, AR

 

"Stephen Binz gave an insightful presentation to our priests and pastoral leaders. He is able to reflect on his many years of experience in order to make scriptural prayer a central component of the new evangelization."

+ David L. Ricken, Bishop of Green Bay

 

"I cannot thank Stephen Binz enough for the day-long workshop he offered to the people of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church. Stephen combined biblical scholarship, historical awareness, pastoral sensitivity and wonderful teaching skills in a day that was a blessing for all who were present. Stephen's passionate belief that the Scripture have the power to transform individual and congregational life was both an inspiration and a challenge to me. His workshop changed the way I make use of Scripture in my preaching and teaching. Many have asked me when we will have him with us again. My answer: As soon as we can!!!" 

Rev. Michael Fedewa, Rector, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Grand Rapids, MI

 

"Stephen J. Binz's greatest gift to the Catholic faith community is a talent for bringing to his presentations and writings a combination of first-rate biblical scholarship and a keen ability to make that scholarship accessible to ordinary adults. In two presentations at the Archdiocese of Hartford, Binz was able to connect meaningfully with a variety of students. On the one hand, Binz succeeded in encouraging Scripture reading among Bible neophytes. On the other hand, Binz effectively invited more experienced Bible readers to reach more deeply into the Word of God for insights and practices that continue to nurture their faith. And those who attended Binz's presentation on St. Paul expressed increased confidence in their ability to read the Letters of Paul as a source of renewal in faith."

Barbara Jean Daly Horell, Coordinator of the Catholic Biblical School, Archdiocese of Hartford

 

"Stephen Binz delivered the keynote at our annual Catechetical Congress for the Diocese of Phoenix. Stephen beautifully illustrates the deepest mysteries of our faith in a way that is articulate, pertinent and inspiring.  His love for the faith, and firm grasp of the Biblical narrative engages the audience and challenges them to a deeper love and appreciation of our Catholic faith.  Our catechetical leaders and catechists were deeply impacted by his presentation and have already requested that we bring him back for future congresses."

Ryan Hanning, Director of Parish Leadership Support, Diocese of Phoenix

 

"If you want an innovative, imaginative and dynamic workshop session, then I would highly recommend Stephen Binz as a presenter for your venue/event.  Stephen spoke at the annual Religious Education Congress and inspired the delegates with wisdom and hope.  Stephen was able to connect with his audience and was personally requested to return to Congress from many of our delegates who attend annually. We look forward to having Stephen with us at future Congresses and are thankful for the gift he brings."

Jan C. Pedroza, LA Congress Programming Coordinator, Los Angeles Archdiocese

 

"The Indiana Conference for Catechetical Leaders invited Stephen to do a one day presentation to all of the Directors of Religious Education in the state, titled “Scripture and Eucharist and the New Evangelization”. The response was overwhelming. Stephen gave a solid, well-organized presentation. It was informative, relevant to today’s ministry, and thought provoking at the same time. Everyone who attended definitely took a lot back to their parishes."
Marianne Hawkins, Indiana Conference for Catechetical Leaders, President
 

"The presentations of Stephen Binz to our catechetical leadership staff were just what they desired and needed. His gracious presence witnessed to them the life that comes from living with the Scriptures. His presentation and then the immediate application made the day much more than just a listening to, but also an experiencing day. The presentation on Lectio Divina spoke deeply to them. I heard a vast number say, “I’m going to start reading the Scriptures again and praying with them. What better response could a diocesan leader hope for?"

Sister Barbara Cline, FSE, Director of the Office of Catechesis, Diocese of Grand Rapids

 

"Stephen Binz' presentation on the Book of Revelation was the most professional and enlightening treatment of a topic I can recall in over 15 years of attending the Los Angeles Congress. His use of PowerPoint was most effective (not the lame "read along with me as I read this outline to you" approach we too often see!) And his enthusiasm for his thesis—that apocalyptic writing is a journey of imagination through which the reader is changed—has made a convert out of me. I used to speak on Revelation myself, but I'm tearing up my notes in favor of Binz' approach! I sincerely hope we see Steve again at Congress. We can never have too many speakers preaching the Scriptures with passion and creativity."

Alice Camille, religious educator and award-winning author of Listening to God’s Word, A Book of Grace-Filled Days, and The Forgiveness Book

 

"Stephen Binz recently gave a series of workshops on the ancient practice of lectio divina in the archdiocese of Cincinnati to the delight of participants. Stephen’s presentation provided us with a deeper understanding and appreciation for the Word of God in our lives today. Through both the theory and the practical application of the approach, I found myself wanting to leave and immediately pray with the scriptures.  He created a thirst from blending both the best of scholarship and a passion for hearing God speak through the Word."

David M. Riley, Office of Evangelization and Catechesis, Archdiocese of Cincinnati

 

"Stephen Binz brought the Threshold Bible Study to our diocese complete with an orientation.  Our catechetical leadership found his presentations insightful, inspiring, and right-on-the-mark!  Several of our parishes have begun incorporating TBS into their catechetical programming. Steve's message is simple: adult-based formation is a priority and Scripture-study is essential to the task!"

Dennis L. Johnson, Jr., Director of Religious Education, Diocese of Orlando 

 

"Stephen Binz presented our Lenten Parish Mission, 'The Door of Mercy: Crossing the Threshold.' Our parishioners were very pleased by the presentations. Steve made the topic very interesting and gave a wonderful scriptural background to the theme. He has obviously done quite a bit of research on his topics. Additionally, he made the topics interesting and practical as well as deeply spiritual. His talks are very clear and easy to follow with the powerpoint presentations. I highly recommend this particular mission for any parish. You won't be disappointed."
Fr. Thomas J. Ryan, Pastor, Immaculate Conception Church, Fayetteville, NY/Diocese of Syracuse
 

"Some mission speakers drop in and share some interesting thoughts or ideas that I find are often forgotten or not implemented into a majority of the spiritual lives of those in attendance.  Stephen Binz helped our parishioners see how prayerfully reflecting on the scriptures can be transformative in our lives.  He left us with practical tools and approaches to praying with scriptures that will aid our parishioners for many years to come.  Our parishioners will be better disciples of Jesus Christ because of our experience with Stephen."

Peter Denio, Pastoral Associate for Adult Faith Formation, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish, Ridgewood, NJ

 

 

Presentations and Worshops

 

The following  can be adapted to several different formats of varying lengths. Each topic can be offered for a single two-hour presentation or topics may be combined for a day-long workshop, retreat, or a multi-session series.

 

Evangelization at the Heart of Sacred Scripture

 

Our call to the New Evangelization is not a novel idea of the contemporary church to counter secularism. Rather, it is the foundational imperative of God’s people. We will survey the Old and New Testaments to better understand that God’s people are sent into the world to share in God’s mission. By knowing the stories of Israel, Jesus, and the church, we will better understand how we can contribute to God’s mission in the world and how we can avoid the common errors of proselytism and church marketing.

 

Pilgrimage in the Footsteps of Jesus

 

Although a personal pilgrimage to the Holy Land might be impossible for many right now, we will take a virtual pilgrimage to the land through the camera and heart of a veteran tour leader. This imaginative pilgrimage will combine images of those sacred places with reflections on the Scriptures. We can image Jesus with his disciples along the lake, teaching on the mountainside, praying in the garden, dying on the cross, and appearing to his disciples. This geography of salvation will renew your heart for reading the word of God.

 

Learning to Pray through the Scriptures

 

The Bible contains the prayers of the Israelite heroes, the prayers of Jesus, and the prayers of his disciples in the early church. These many prayers of biblical men and women that fill the Scriptures can teach us how to pray and enrich our life of prayer. We will delve into the many and various prayers in the Bible and see what we can learn from them.  

 

Forming Communities of the Word for the New Evangelization

 

Every age of evangelization throughout the Church’s history has been motivated by a renewed emphasis on sacred Scripture. The New Evangelization, prophetically begun with the Second Vatican Council and spurred on by Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict, is now taking concrete form in the ministry of the Church. This New Evangelization is rooted, guided, and enkindled by the inspired Scriptures. In this presentation, you will learn how the Scriptures can lead Christ’s Church to become a more vital community of faith and prepare us to fulfill our Christian mission by invigorating the baptized, attracting new disciples of Jesus, and renewing culture with the splendor of the gospel. You will gain ideas for forming and enhancing Bible study in parishes during this Year of Faith, and you will come to understand ways to read, pray, and teach Scripture in order to form Catholics into evangelizing disciples.

 

Mary as Woman of the Word and Exemplar of Lectio Divina

 

The life of Mary, mother of the Word of God, can show us the way to read the Bible in a manner that is personal, prayerful, and transforming. This way of listening to God’s word in Scripture is traditionally called lectio divina, an ancient practice in which prayerful listening leads to a transforming encounter with God through the text. Because this ancient approach to Scripture is rooted in the Judaism of Mary’s time, she can show us how to open ourselves to the presence of God in Scripture and let the Holy Spirit guide our contemplative response.

 

Memory, Moment, and Mission: Living the Eucharist as the Source and Summit of the Christian Life  

 

The Scriptures find their fullest expression in the Mass. In word and sacrament, the Eucharistic Liturgy makes God’s saving deeds present for every community in every age. The Bible reveals the purpose and meaning of the Mass as our covenant sacrifice, kingdom banquet, cosmic worship, and divine presence, gathering us together as God’s people and sending us out to evangelize by being the presence of Christ in the world. Learn how all the words and actions of the Mass are rooted in the seedbed of Scripture. 

 

Conversing with God in Scripture: A Contemporary Approach to Lectio Divina

 

The ancient practice of lectio divina offers a time-tested way of listening and conversing with God through the inspired Scriptures. This ancient art is rooted in the Jewish tradition of Jesus, and it has been nourished through the desert spirituality of the early centuries, the patristic writers of the ancient church, and the monastic tradition through the ages. In our day, lectio divina is experiencing a world-wide revival as Christians everywhere are returning to age-old wisdom to experience the Scriptures in a deeper and more complete way. This presentation will explain this ancient practice and show Bible readers how to experience the ongoing power of the Spirit within the inspired text. Participants will learn how to move from attentive listening, to reflective prayer, to contemplative action. 

 

Becoming a Community of the Word: How to Bring Bible Study to Your Whole Parish

 

Ever since the Second Vatican Council gave us the mandate—“Access to sacred Scripture ought to be open wide to the Christian faithful”—Catholic parishes have been forming small groups for Bible study. Unfortunately this model has never been effective in bringing large numbers of Catholics to take Bible study seriously. Even in large parishes only a few dozen people want to join a group for another weekly session at church, but most Catholics want to learn how to study the Bible in a way that makes a difference in their lives. If we are to make access to Scripture open wide for all our church members, then we must think of other ways. We will begin by looking at ten principles for studying the Bible that make it a uniquely Catholic experience. These principles will show Catholics how to avoid the rampant fundamentalism of our culture and root their biblical understanding in the rich soil of our tradition. We will then learn about the church’s most ancient way of studying the Bible, in which the Scriptures move us to a dialogue with God and into prayer. Finally, we will discuss effective ways to bring this method of Bible study to your whole parish. This workshop is for Bible students in all stages of adulthood, parish pastoral teams, volunteers, and anyone interested in Catholic Bible study.

 

Learning to Talk with the One You Love: Skills for Intimate Relationships

 

Intimacy is the bridge that connects two committed partners in a deep and loving bond. The key to an ongoing relationship that gives joy and satisfaction is to maintain the experience of loving the one you have chosen. Though love changes in many ways through the cycle of life, the experience can be maintained over a lifetime if it is tended and not neglected. Learn some of the reasons that loving intimacy wanes and learn skills for reviving, nourishing, and sustaining committed love. Stephen Binz is a certified instructor for the PAIRS method of couples education.

 

Grieving: Moving from Loss to New Life

 

Grieving is the bridge between the overwhelming pain of loss and the renewed life that is possible on the other side. The process of grieving is one of life’s most difficult and painful experiences. It is a massive onslaught of conflicting feelings: sadness, anger, confusion, despair, guilt, and emptiness. By facing our feelings, we learn about our own depths and discover the richness of our own inner life. The pain associated with grief has a limited size and shape; grief has a beginning and an end. Grief cripples us for a lifetime only when we do not allow its voice to be heard. Learn the phases of normal grieving and how to reach a new wholeness through the pains of loss. Stephen Binz is trained as an Advanced Bereavement Facilitator from the American Academy of Bereavement. 

 

Thriving Through the Midlife Challenge

 

Midlife is the bridge that connects young adulthood to what Carl Jung called "the second half of life." At midlife parts of ourselves that we had neglected, ignored, or suppressed begin to emerge. As we yearn for wholeness, we long to live our unlived lives. Typically people deny and resist the psychic upheaval at midlife, dismissing the internal signals and postponing the inevitable quest for deeper life. But through confusion, disappointment, and sometimes depression and anxiety, a totally unexpected journey of growth and change can occur. Learn ways to negotiate the sharp curves and steep hills of the midlife crisis into the more open road of life's second half.

 

Stewardship of the Earth

 

The Earth, its environment and its creatures, is a wonderful gift and a sacred trust to humanity. Celebrate the beauty and rich diversity of the created world and develop a sense of loving care for our planet through the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures. Listen anew to the biblical texts which help us understand our privilege and responsibility in caring for the earth and humbly recognize our place within it. In our present age of vast environmental degradation, a biblical spirituality of God's creation can help motivate believers toward an understanding of ecological justice.

 

Topics of Biblical Spirituality

 

Shorter talks may be arranged for adult education at conferences and churches. Topics include the following: The Psalms as Prayer, People of the Passion, Hope in the Book of Revelation, The Resurrection and the Life, The Sacred Heart, Seeking Justice and Peace, The Holy City Jerusalem, Dreams in the Bible and in our Lives, The Infancy Narratives for Advent, Pilgrimage in Biblical Times and Today.

 

 

 

 
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