Diocesan News

Nebraska City parish hosts ‘Ablaze Worship’

By Leigh Calfee

NEBRASKA CITY (SNR) – Lisa Beardslee recently gathered her husband, Gene, and their four children to travel to St. Benedict Parish in Nebraska City for “Ablaze,” an evening of praise, worship and adoration.

Beardslee, who lives in Peru and attends St. Bernard Parish in Julian, knew about Ablaze Worship from Omaha, but she had never experienced it for herself.

Beardslee, like so many others who have been impacted by Ablaze Worship, found the evening to be a fantastic experience.

“I loved Ablaze!” she said. “It was a profoundly healing time for me. I would attend monthly if I could – it was that powerful. Ablaze is a little taste of heaven: worshiping our Lord in prayer and song, as we will for all eternity.”

Screenshot/Mary Wong video

Ablaze Worship is a ministry inspired by Jesus’ words in Luke 12:49: “I have come to cast fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already ablaze.”

Ablaze’s founder, Father Michael Voithofer, is associate pastor of St. Gerald Parish in Ralston. His dream for Ablaze is to help churches become more vibrant houses of prayer for all people.

“I want the Church to be ablaze with God’s divine love. My goal is to introduce, build and support the culture of Pentecost in the Church by helping people to experience and live life in the Holy Spirit,” Father Voithofer said.

The evening of worship at St. Benedict included a mix of contemporary worship music and traditional Church hymns, exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and communal prayers for healing and deliverance.

Participants were invited to stand, kneel, sit or approach the altar in prayer. Father Voithofer also spent time discussing the scriptural basis for the raising of hands in prayer and praise.

Kathleen Roberts traveled from Sidney, Iowa with her husband and children to attend. Roberts said, “Our family loved Ablaze. Some family members had not been to a worship night like that. Father Michael’s words about healing and deliverance really struck a chord with our family.”

Ablaze holds evening worship events at various parishes in the Omaha area, but Father Voithofer is beginning to expand to areas like Council Bluffs and beyond. He and the Ablaze team are also planning for a retreat center and worship space that will eventually accommodate “24/7” praise and worship.

Ablaze Worship is propelled by a team of volunteers who help with setting up equipment, providing music and/or acting as intercessory prayer partners for the ministry. The ministry welcomes new volunteers with a heart to see the Holy Spirit become a reality in the lives of all people.

Lisa Beardslee is one of those people who hopes to someday volunteer as a musician for Ablaze Worship. The Ablaze evening at St. Benedict affected her in a powerful way, as it has done for others in different parishes throughout the region.

With the goal of helping people to know and experience friendship with the Holy Spirit through a lifestyle of praise, worship and adoration of Jesus’ Eucharistic Heart, Ablaze Worship provides a powerful way to deepen our relationship with the Lord, experience his healing and praise his Most Holy Name.

For more information about Ablaze Worship, including upcoming events, go to ablazeworship.org.

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