On February 24, 2021, the ninth session of the St. Paul’s Spiritual Enhancement    Series was held over Zoom conferencing. The theme was, “The Gift of Life In God’s Friendship: Grace, Gratitude, Prayer.” Joe Amato led the discussion with three Cursillistas: Peggy Bergin–Sementilli, Doreen Mullarney & Michael Hoffner.

Peggy Bergin-Sementilli holds a Master’s Degree in Systematic Theology from St. John’s University and has been a faculty member at St. Francis Preparatory School for over 30 years, where she has enjoyed teaching Religious Education. While teaching has always been her calling, Peggy previously worked as a corporate event planner while volunteering in parish work and youth ministry through the Module Youth Program and a YACA team member. In addition to being a lifelong student of theology and spirituality, Peggy enjoys travel, cooking, dance, yoga and trying to garden—all  activities which have helped to deepen and express her relationship with God. Her greatest joys are in her relationships as a friend, sister, mother to two wonderful daughters and as wife to her husband of 25 years.

Doreen (Baxter) Mullarney made her YACA weekend in 1980. She was a Team member for the YACA program and Rectora for the ODAT retreats. She moved to NJ 30 years ago & is a mom to three grown children. Doreen worked as a therapist for 37 years and, for the last 24 years, is working as a school counselor in a high school. She works with teens and families struggling with substance use and mental health issues.

Michael Hoffner received his Master’s Degree in Social Work from Fordham University. He is the director and co-founder of the Community Growth Center, a non-profit center for spiritual and personal growth. Michael is the author of the book God’s Presence in the Present: Contemplative Prayer and the Healing Process. Michael also works with Adelphi University as the Coordinator of Spirituality Services. Michael’s professional purpose and calling is to bridge mental health, personal development and spiritual growth into one integrated process, in order to help facilitate growth and transformation.

Joe  challenged his guests to share experiences of Grace —and all shared personal and extremely vulnerable times in their lives. Despite deep, life-altering challenges, each shared the profound gratitude that they have in their lives and how God is a constant presence for them—and the need for prayer to maintain that relationship.

If you were unable to join us that night, I highly recommend watching it. The session has been posted on our YouTube channel (“St. Paul’s Cursillo Community”) at the link below. Take some time to watch our  previously recorded sessions as well and please share it with others!