Global E-Conference Features St. Paul

Honors the “Great Church Communicator”

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BRISBANE, Australia, JULY 1, 2009 ( To close the Pauline Year, Australian bishops used online technology to spread the Gospel message, offering conferences that drew global attention and are still available for viewing.

A press release from the Archdiocese of Melbourne announced today that the e-conference, sponsored by the bishops’ conference along with the Broken Bay Institute, drew some 5,000 online participants.

The conference, launched Tuesday, was accessed from locations around the country, and from other places in the globe, including Canada, Malta, New Zealand, the Philippines, Peru and the United States.

People on their personal computers were able to participate in the conference about “Paul — The Man, the Mission and Message for Today: Igniting his Purpose and Passion.”

Participants listed to Scripture scholars such as Jesuit Father Brendan Byrne and St. Joseph Sister Michele Connolly, as well as Jesuit Father Richard Leonard, a film, media and communication expert.

When questions were solicited, over 1,700 e-mails were sent, and a panel presentation answered as many as possible.

For those who were unable to watch the presentations on Monday, the talks can still be viewed online. Registration is open until next Tuesday, and the organizers are offering participants the opportunity to win prizes, including a trip following the footsteps of St. Paul.

Archbishop John Bathersby, chairman of the bishops’ Commission for Mission and Faith Formation, gave the opening address from Brisbane, underlining the “wonderful opportunity for people to learn and share in the wisdom of the great Church communicator, Paul.”

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd sent a message to the conference acknowledging that the e-conference will “enable Catholic dioceses across Australia to join together in reflecting on the legacy of one of the most important, yet elusive, figures in Church history.”

He continued, “I trust the conference will facilitate a productive exchange of ideas for those who share in the Catholic tradition in Australia, and that it will benefit the communities you represent across the nation.”

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