The Catholic Dioceses of England and Wales showcased a wide range of new evangelization initiatives this week at a national gathering.
Representatives from dioceses covering every region, including the Ordinariate and the Bishopric of the Forces, gathered 4 – 5 November for 24 hours at Hothorpe Hall in Leicestershire.
The program included times of prayer, fellowship and sharing news and information about work being done in support of Home Mission.
The projects currently being offered and developed in dioceses include: a new formation and mission centre in Cardiff; new resources to support family-focused evangelization 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; and much more.
One of the speakers at the gathering was Fr. Eamonn Conway who had attended last year’s Synod on Evangelization in Rome. He spoke about the Synod and Pope Francis’ early pontificate, and also reflected on the opportunities and challenges present in contemporary culture.
Hosting the event was Bishop Kieran Conry, Chair of the Bishops’ Department for Evangelization and Catechesis. “Professor Conway was exactly the right person for this gathering,” he said. “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 Evangelization. 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 Evangelization, and filled us all with hope.”
Meanwhile, Fr James McAuley representing Portsmouth Diocese said: “I found our 24 hours 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.”