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Avila Institute Offers a “Journey of Growth”

July 27, 2015 by  
Filed under Avila Institute, Dan Burke, Spiritual Theology

We have a number of priests who attend the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation. Today, I’m humbled to share the story that Fr. José Bautista shared with us of the journey of growth he has experienced thanks to Avila.

Fr José Bautista - journey of growth

Fr José Bautista

Fr. Bautista is pastor of St. Catherine of Siena parish in Kissimmee, Florida. He’s originally from the country of Columbia and was ordained in the Diocese of Orlando, Florida, in 1991. He holds a Licentiate of Canon Law degree and served as a judge for the diocese, as well as Director for Hispanic Ministry, prior to becoming a pastor.

Fr. Bautista found himself wanting to better understand different Catholic schools of spirituality. In particular, he was interested in different traditions and the major proponents of them. He ended up taking courses at Avila because he thought that, in addition to learning different Catholic traditions, he would also be able to learn more about the spiritual life in general.

He shares:

I began studying and decided to join Avila mainly as an intellectual pursuit of knowledge, thinking that somehow that would lead me to the grow in Spirituality.

With the first class I took, I began to realize that studying spirituality is not really an intellectual endeavor. It includes it, but not as the major goal. Instead, it is a journey of growth.

With every class I find challenges to my present state of spirituality and therefore invitations to make some clear, specific and practical changes. This fact has led me to grow spiritually in a way I did not suspect when first I began with Avila. My life has been impacted at least 500 percent.

I am just very happy to be learning what I am learning for it is readily applicable to my daily life. These changes have brought joy to my life, a deeper and greater love for God and the divine realm, and of course peace in the midst of difficulties, great peace.

Fr. Bautista began taking courses in October 2014 and has taken many other courses since.

“I would recommend Avila [Institute] to all priests I know,” he shares, adding that he would also recommend it to religious and laity as well. “The change in my life as a person, as a priest, and as a pastor of the parish where I work” has been the greatest benefit he’s experienced.


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About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, Divine Intimacy Radio and Divine Intimacy Radio - Resources Edition, Into the Deep Parish Programs, the Apostoli Viae (Apostles of the Way) Community, the High Calling Seminary Preparation Program, and the FireLight Student Leadership Formation Program, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep, Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux, and his newest book The Contemplative Rosary with St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Avila. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN's National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer, speaker and pilgrimage director who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN's Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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