Monday, 3 August 2009

Teaching and testimony

Each day of the Congress was based round a theme which was really a very simple unwrapping of what the New Evangelisation is. Each day the delegates heard a testimony followed by a teaching given by a Bishop. On Monday Bishop Julian introduced the New Evangelisation. He set in relief the contemporary phenomenon of the spread of secularism and proposed a simple three-step plan; to seek personal holiness, that we can no longer be anonymous Catholics but witness to Christ, that we should be prepared to give a verbal testimony for Christ.

Tuesday's theme was Conversion and On-going Conversion. Bishop Chris Prouse (above) gave a catechesis which was also a Lectio Divina on the Emmaus passage of St Luke's Gospel, revealing the whole life of conversion which is proper to the Christian. Conversion, he reiterated, is not a noun but a verb!

Wednesday's theme was Proclaiming Christ, spoekn to by Bishop Joseph Grech (above). His catechesis was based upon JPII's famous words about the NE in the early eighties: the NE, he said is new "in ardour, method and expression." Christ, he said, is the centre of the NE.

Thursday's theme was the Great Commission and Bishop Anthony Fisher (above) delivered a catechesis upon the question of the formation of Christian disciples.

On Friday the structure of the morning changed and we welcomed Mike Willesee to the Congress who led a Q&A session with a panel made up by Bishop Julian, Fr Julian, Sr Madeline OP, Jovina Graham and Lewi Barakat. The panel focussed on questions of the heart and the ways in which the panel members had discerned God's presence in their lives and how they had responded to it. This Forum session led by Mike Willesee brought the Congress to a place where I believe God wants His Church to be right now - very personally and attentively to be open to Him and to the world so that many more people might have a personal encounter with His Son through us.

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