The first event of its kind in living memory, a full capacity city-centre venue is preparing to welcome Cardinal Nichols, around 20 bishops, ecumenical guests and over 800 evangelisation leaders from across England and Wales, for a national event focussing on Catholic evangelisation.
Proclaim ’15 is the name of a new Bishops’ Conference initiative that aims to support the building of missionary parishes through promoting prayer and offering practical resources in support of parish evangelisation. A highlight of the year will be the National Catholic Evangelisation Conference at Birmingham Repertory Theatre on 11 July, for which a number of dioceses already have a waiting list.
Bishop Nicholas Hudson, the lead Bishop for the national conference day, said: “The generous response of the bishops and the Catholic community to Proclaim ’15 has been moving. Inspired by the content of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, to respond confidently to Jesus’ and the Church’s call to evangelise, the event on 11 July promises to be significant and the momentum is fast growing. It’s a blessing to be in the position of there being such high demand for conference day passes and we’re so grateful for people’s prayers and support.”
He added: “Everyone can be involved in Proclaim ’15 in some way, even if they can’t come to the national event in July. Easy-to-download group materials are available for parish usage. A resource booklet has been prepared for those who’d like to organise a local Proclaim ’15 day in their area in the autumn; video recordings of the keynotes from the July event will be available for showing on these days. The team has also created materials to encourage parishes to pray for the mission of the Church and its needs. Please do get involved as you can. As 2015 progresses resources are being made available in phases.”
Lucy Studham is attending the National Conference from Brentwood Diocese and said: “This is a fantastic initiative. It’ll be great to meet people from all over the country of one heart and mind in faith, as well as receive practical ideas to help us take new steps.” Meanwhile, Canon Harry Doyle from Lancaster Diocese, said: “Although I’m not able to attend the national conference, I’m really looking forward to seeing how we can use the materials locally in support of parish outreach. It’ll be good to know more about the means and methods of evangelisation that are working, and learn from them.”
The Proclaim ’15 web area is available at: catholicnews.org.uk/proclaim15