Bishop Christopher Jones is rallying the troops in the Diocese of Elphin.
In the past week posters have been placed in the porches of almost every church inviting committed lay people to participate in a two-day diocesan conference that will take place in Roscommon on Saturday April 20th and Sunday, April 21st.
5,000 brochures have also been put into circulation and detailed information placed on the Elphin Diocesan web site (www.elphindiocese.ie/year-of-faith/conference).
The bishop has also emphasised that all are welcome and that people are welcome to come for either day if they are unable to come for both.
This Conference has a number of striking features. Firstly, the keynote speaker on the Saturday will be Irish Times Columnist Breda O’Brien.
She has been invited to share from her experiences as a woman, wife, mother, teacher, writer, media commentator and pro-life campaigner under the title “How did we get here?” and “Where are we going?”
The hope of the organising committee, with Bishop Jones’ blessing, is that Breda’s inputs will support a naming of prevailing challenges that require attention and also a naming of the competencies that lay people are increasingly exercising as members of their parish communities and diocese, i.e. in the wake of present-day challenges.
The second key note speaker shall be Fr. Paddy Jones, Director of The National Centre for Liturgy which is based in St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth. Fr. Paddy’s focus will be the Sunday Mass. RTE will also broadcast the Mass of the Conference on Sunday April 21.
Up to nine workshops will also be available to participants, ranging from the experiential and interactive to the analytical and investigative. The titles of these and their presenters are as follows:
(1) Baptised for Life - unpacking the mystery and the promise (Colette Furlong);
(2) Rural Church Areas as “faith” communities - Exploring our strengths and imminent challenges (Deacon William Gacquin);
(3) Being Catholic in a Multi-media age - How can I play my part? (Kevin Leavy & Petra Conroy (Catholic Comment));
(4) Why are so many young people not practicing? - Exploring our concerns and thinking. (Moya Hegarty OSU);
(5) Growing in Understanding and Confidence - Introducing the Studies in the Catechism of the Catholic Church programme (Nuala Caliendo & Philomena Travers);
(6) Town Pastoral Councils 2013 - 2023: - What needs to be considered? (Fina Golden & Barry McMahon);
(7) When daily Mass goes - Exploring the recommended options (Justin Harkin);
(8) “To sing is to pray twice” (St. Augustine) - Exploring the Mass through hymns, old and new (Bridgeen Regan) and
(9) The Mystery Sound of God’s Word (Fr. John Cullen).
Costs have also been kept to a minimum thanks to generous donations from the Knights of St. Columbanus, the Elphin Diocese’s Pastoral Development Office and the support of an army of volunteers, including members of the Legion of Mary and Pioneer Total Abstinence Association.
For more information see www.elphindiocese.ie/year-of-faith/conference.