By Mary Lovee Varni,
Spirit of St. Louis, Mo. TEC


About 200 people from 36 TEC communities gathered in Bellville, IL July 8-10, 2005 to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the TEC Movement. Archbishop Roger Schwietz, OMI, of Anchorage, Alaska, “What we celebrated in these days was that 40 years ago Our Lord gave the Church a new gift — something that is based on the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ. We thank God for the gift of this Movement — for the thousands of people who have generously served in leadership positions and the youth who have experienced the weekend and become part of the TEC community. Through the intercession of Mary, may TEC continue to bring countless young people to the joy of discipleship in Jesus Christ.”

Christine Wienke, 20, a junior at Franciscan University in Stuebenville, Ohio, is one such young adult whose life has been positively impacted. “After my first TEC, I was no longer afraid to grow in my faith. It has taught me to be open to God’s call to live a holy life and be an example to others. I’m currently majoring in Theology and English. Although I’m not sure what I want to do after graduation, I know that I will continue to be involved in TEC and help youth to know God. With all the negative voices out there, I want to help them to know Jesus — the Voice of Truth,” Wienke said. She went on her first TEC weekend as a high school senior in St. Louis, Mo., and was one of four young adult witness speakers at the anniversary celebration.

Reaching the younger generation was also the reason why Theresa Lutes traveled from Anchorage, Alaska to be present at the event. Lutes is one of the adult leaders of the Last Frontier TEC Center, which was established in 2002. “It is very important to renew the vision of TEC at celebrations such as these in order to nurture the many young people who are looking to deepen their spirituality,” Lutes said.

“The Paschal Mystery—the dying, rising, and going forth in Christ—has been my spirituality for 40 years,” Fr. Matt Fedewa said, explaining the Movement’s mission. “People sometimes ask me, is TEC still relevant after all of these years? As long as the Paschal Mystery remains as its heart, it will be. Christ is always relevant for He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. The youth and young adults of the Church are hungry for this message. And God has given us the seed, the rain and the bread for us to pass out to those who are hungry.”

Dorothy Gereke agrees. “We are gathered here because we love Jesus, who has trusted us with this great apostolate. This celebration is a miracle; we are miracle; God’s grace is a miracle. We must pass on our faith to the next generation. That is our call and our challenge today just as much as it was 40 years ago. How many young people can we bring to Christ?” she explained.

Over four decades, hundreds of thousands of young people from multiple continents have encountered Christ through TEC, even spreading to U.S. military bases with the Troops Encounter Christ weekends. TEC creates a multi-generational community of faith which embraces all vocations within the Catholic Church—married and single; youth and adults; religious, clergy and laity. “I was glad to be one of the youth speakers at the event. It was a good opportunity to tell everyone gathered here how much TEC has influenced my life, and to encourage them to keep doing what they are doing,” added Wienke.

“Recently, I visited St. Mary Seminary and University in Baltimore, Md. Three seminarians from three different states found me and enthusiastically witnessed to what their TEC weekend had meant in their lives and their vocation discernment. Of course, my heart leaped for joy!” Fr. Fedewa wrote in his welcome letter to the TEC 40th Anniversary participants.

”Similarly, on a trip to Europe, I stayed a few days in Prague, the Czech Republic. I had been given the phone number of the leader couple for TEC in Prague,” Fr. Matt continued. “They, too, spoke with the joy that only the Spirit can give, sharing that 40 TEC weekends had been held. Young adults who grew up under the atheistic Communist regime were encountering Christ in His Paschal Mystery. For many it was their first knowledge of Jesus, of their and our Savior.”