- Category: Great Conjunction Transcriptions
"Interview with Paul Funfsinn"
Original Air Date: 10/25/2012
Welcome to Great Conjunction. I'm your host, John Michael Thornton and this week we're speaking with Rev. Paul Funfsinn, Co-founder and Director of Celebrating Life Ministries.
I've known Paul for a very long time now and I'm always astounded by his grace, faith and the simple truths that he brings to everything he does. Let's get started.
JMT: Paul Funfsinn, welcome to Great Conjunction.
PF: It's my honor to be here with you, John.
JMT: I met you for the first time back in the '90's and at that time you were traveling with Ron Roth and Celebrating Life Ministries was still very young, it seemed to me, and it was more about Ron's ministry. How did you begin traveling with him and how did you get involved in your spiritual journey?
PF: Well, that's a fun story I'd like to share with you. Growing up Catholic, my parents received the "baptism in the Holy Spirit" and they started attending Ron Roth services because he was a charismatic Catholic priest. So for two-years they were following him and they always wanted me, as their second son, they wanted a priest in their family so I was their best bet so they were pushing toward that and I resisted it totally. But eventually I'd made a boy's retreat and I felt touched by the Spirit.
My parents spent two-years inviting me to come to Ron's services and I resisted until I'd had that retreat. So I said, "Okay, on one condition. I'll go but I'm going to bring my friends." So they said okay, fine. What they didn't know is that we stopped at the bar and got drunk and then we went to the service. A lot of courage there, huh? Anyway, during the service I just felt this same Spirit with which I was touched a couple weeks ago with in this retreat and it's like all my friends didn't return, but I continued to return every week with my parents and something stirred within me. Eventually, Ron invited me to join him in ministry and, of course, what brought a fear in me was, "Oh, my God, he's going to make me a priest."
So I ran away for six-months because, again, I think whenever we know we're "called" to something, fear, I think, is the first thing that pops ups in our mind or heart so we try to resist it. To me the Spirit broke it down and eventually it returned again, the invitation, and then I said, "Yes".
JMT: About when was this? How old were you when this started happening?
PF: Seventeen when I actually received the Spirit and twenty-five when I responded to the Spirit. There was a lapse of time there.
JMT: So there was a small lapse. Just a little bit of a lag.
PF: To me, it really has, I think in everyone's life, we want. If we believe in God, we believe in a higher power, we want to fulfill what may be our destiny or our Call. But because of fear we seem to sabotage that. For me, I was doing that for how many years until finally the Spirit got a hold of me and said, "This is your destiny".
So I worked with Ron for twenty-eight years, yet those twenty-eight years were not easy years. It was about formation. It was about "obedience" because as a Catholic priest, you know I traveled with Ron and so I had all these conditions. I only knew what Catholicism said and of course, in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, the priest, whatever he says is true. I had to figure that out in my own walk with God and with Ron. "Is he telling the truth or not?" "Is that just his human opinion or is this God's opinion?" So in my walk it really took me about ten-years to figure that one out and eventually I knew I was always supposed to walk with Ron and finish his mission but yet, I also had a mission in mind.
What Ron was taught was to heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons. Whatever that means, I want to follow that because I know I'm a Christ follower so I desire to now fulfill that even now though Ron has passed on the last three years.
JMT: I'd like to back-track a little bit here. While I know we've got some listeners from Celebrating Life Ministries , which of course, is the organization that you and Ron started, but for those people who are not familiar with Ron Roth, tell us a bit about who he was and how he started his ministry.
PF: Ron Roth was a wild character. My first impression of him was, "He's not a real priest". He was so happy and so joyful. He was full of life but he also healed the sick. You know, going to a regular church service you don't see that at a daily Mass or the Sunday Mass. And he inspired us to grow in our relationship with ourselves and with God but also have fun in life and that just blew my mind because growing up a conditional Catholic with twelve brothers and sisters we just obey what our parents said. So that conditioning stuck with me then Ron kind of blew me out of the circuits and said, "No, there's more; with the spirit you can have a fulfilling life. You can obey the Lord but also enjoy life to the fullest." Because of the gift of the Spirit that manifested in his life, it really awakened me to the truth that is within me and is within every listener today. There's a promise that we can actually have a loving relationship with God.
Ron, "they" would call him a charismatic priest, revealed the gifts of the spirit. He healed people of cancerous tumors; getting out of wheel chairs, blindness; I've seen them all and was a witness to that. Then after twenty-five years of being a Catholic priest, Ron left the priesthood in order to fulfill, I think, the greater Calling to go out into all the world and not just the Catholic church. So he opened that door and that's how Celebrating Life Ministries was created by him and I.