Keynote speakers include Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, Bishop Nicholas Hudson, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Westminster, Dr Susan Timoney, Secretary for Pastoral Ministry and Social Concerns at the Archdiocese of Washington and Daniel Ang Director of Evangelisation from the Catholic Diocese of Broken Bay.
(Thank you to the Archdiocese of Melbourne for sponsoring Dr Timoney’s visit)
These keynote speakers will be complemented by numerous workshops presenters from Australia and abroad who will offer to participants some of the best practices, strategies and creative approaches by which the mercy and joy of the Gospel can be lived out by local communities of faith. Participants will also enjoy conference liturgies, panel discussions on evangelisation, social media initiatives, and a night of praise and worship open to youth and young adults.
Pope Francis, Renewal and Parish Evangelisation
The pope, as the Successor of Peter, is our link of continuity and touchstone to Jesus and his Gospel. Today, Peter bears the name Francis, and while he has his own particular style, the teaching and mission remain the same.
In continuity with his predecessors, Pope Francis calls us now to a new period of Evangelisation. He and recent popes have warned that the Christian way of life and the Gospel vision of right and wrong, virtue and God’s love and mercy all seem to be eclipsed by counter voices that find the Church’s perennial teaching somehow distasteful. So pervasive is this “other message” that today many never even get to hear the truth, richness and joy of the authentic Gospel of Christ. These challenges include an increasingly aggressive secularism, materialism, individualism and relativism.
Oases of Mercy: Parishes Which Radiate Christ
“Wherever there are Christians, everyone should find an oasis of mercy.” So Pope Francis describes the parish in The Face of Mercy (MV 12). “A sanctuary where the thirsty come to drink in the midst of their journey”, a community with “an endless desire to show mercy” is how the Holy Father envisages the parish in The Joy of the Gospel (EG 28).
In his keynote address, Bishop Nicholas sets out to present a vision of a parish which does just that: it radiates mercy, simply because it radiates Christ. He takes his inspiration from one of England’s greatest evangelisers, Blessed John Henry Newman. In the poem Radiating Christ, Newman prays the Lord: “Shine through me and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel Your presence in my soul.” Newman is echoing the primacy of encounter which is at the heart of Pope Francis’s vision for evangelisation.
The Missionary Mandate of the Parish: Christian Life Embedded in Our Neighbourhoods
Evangelisation is not the work of a single committee but rather the mandate for every parishioner and parish ministry. Drawing on the priestly, prophetic and royal charism of our Baptismal vocation, This presentation will explore how parishes form a missionary consciousness in their parishioners and how parishes can assess and increase their capacity for evangelisation in three movements: bringing the Good News to the unevangelised, inviting inactive Catholics to rediscover a relationship with Jesus and moving parishioners from evangelised to evangelisers at home, on the job and in the world. Pastoral planning tools that aid parishes in moving from “maintenance to mission” highlight the mandate to move out to the peripheries of our communities to invite people to encounter the Risen Christ.
Mr Daniel Ang is the Director of Evangelisation, Diocese of Broken Bay. He is Chair of the National Pastoral Planners Network, a member of the Australian Catholic Council for Pastoral Research and was Director of Pastoral Planning for the Diocese of Parramatta. He holds a Bachelor of Arts/Commerce from the University of Sydney and a Master of Divinity from the Sydney College of Divinity (SCD), undertaken at the Catholic Institute of Sydney. He is a married layman with two children. His talk will be entitled: “The Evangelising Parish in the Australian Church: Strategies for Prophetic Witness”