A breadth of innovative evangelisation initiatives being offered in Catholic dioceses in England and Wales has been showcased at a national gathering.
Representatives from dioceses covering every region, as well as the Ordinariate and the Bishopric of the Forces, gathered 4-5 November for 24 hours at Hothorpe Hall in Leicestershire. The first time an event of this kind has been offered in living memory, the programme included times of prayer, fellowship and sharing news and information about work being done in support of Home Mission.
A snapshot of the projects currently being offered and developed in dioceses includes:
a new formation and mission centre in Cardiff
new resources to support family-focused evangelisation in Liverpool
a new “ what good news” website in Brentwood
a four-year project to unpack the teaching of Vatican II in Arundel and Brighton
the creation of outreach leaflets and a ‘Welcome Back’ outreach Sunday in Hexham and Newcastle
new DVD materials addressing frequently asked faith questions from Plymouth
a successful pilgrimage and prison outreach programme from Salford
new faith sharing materials from Westminster for use in small groups
Significant input was also given by Rev Professor Eamonn Conway, who attended the recent Synod on Evangelisation in Rome as an expert (October 2012). He shared insights from the Synod and Pope Francis’ early Pontificate, as well as reflecting on the opportunities and challenges present in contemporary culture.
Rt Rev Kieran Conry, Chair of the Bishops’ Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis, hosted the event and said:
“Professor Conway was exactly the right person for this gathering. He brought scholarship, insight, spirituality and a profound sense of priesthood. I think that we all felt privileged to have been able to share these days together, and it’s not every meeting that you can judge in that way.”
Barbara Davies attended the meeting representing the Shrewsbury Diocese and said:
“24 hours of prayerful reflection with people radically committed to the New Evangelisation. How could that not be inspiring and therefore invigorating? It was all very much an experience not of ‘theory and practice’, but of the ‘spirit and practice’ of the New Evangelisation, and filled us all with hope.”
Meanwhile, Fr James McAuley representing Portsmouth Diocese said:
“I found our time together enriching and affirming. The Church is mission and I pray that our time together will bear much fruit in the months and years to come.”
This national gathering is bi-annual and aims to facilitate the sharing of evangelisation resources and expertise across the dioceses of England and Wales. It’s coordinated by the Home Mission Desk on behalf of the Bishops’ Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis.
Also among the participating dioceses were: Birmingham, Middlesbrough, Northampton, Nottingham, Southwark, Wrexham. A representative from the Sion Community for Evangelism was also in attendance.
Home Mission Desk