Saturday, 8 August 2009

An afternoon at the Evangelium Conference

Evangelium is a catechetical resource prepared by Fr Andrew Pinsent and Fr Marcus Holden. I reported on the launch a couple of years ago. The Evangelium Conference has grown out of the same enthusiasm for passing on the faith to the young. This year's is the second such conference; it has been running since yesterday afternoon and finishes tomorrow afternoon. There are about 150 participants in a programme that is very full with an impressively wide variety of speakers.

The major conferences covered a range of subjects to help young people in the work of evangelisation:
  • Joanna Bogle - Women and the Church
  • David Quinn - The new Atheism and the Media
  • Dr Tom Pink - Freedom and Reason
  • Fr Tim Finigan - Homosexuality and the Catholic Church
  • Fr Brian Harrison - Why we need a magisterium
  • Dr Helen Watt - The Brave New World of reproductive technologies
  • Fr Andrew Pinsent - Christendom Awake! The New Apologetics
Fr Nicholas Schofield gave a supplementary talk on "The History of Catholic England" in which he gives a whistlestop tour in 45 minutes.

There was an impressive variety of elective workshops in which the participants were spoilt for choice:
  • Jack Valero - The Apostolate of the Laity
  • Fr Jerome Bertram - Lord, teach us to pray
  • Fr Thomas Crean OP - Can miracles prove Christianity?
  • Schola Gregoriana - An introduction to Gregorian chant
  • Fiorella Nash - Getting involved in the Pro-Life movement
  • Schola Gregoriana - Music for the Liturgy (2 sessions)
  • Fr Tim Finigan - AIDS, condoms and the Catholic Church
  • Fr Jeremy Davies - Spiritual Combat
  • Joanna Bogle - Feasts and Seasons
  • Jamie Bogle - Catholic History
  • Dr Helen Watt (following up on her conference)
  • Fr Brian Harrison - The Social Kingship of Christ
There was a full liturgical programme too, with daily Mass, parts of the Divine Office, and exposition and Benediction with Confession available. If tonight's supper is anything to go by, the school caterers made sure that the participants did not go hungry amid all the activity.

It was great to meet Fr Brian Harrison, many of whose articles I have read, as well as many good friends, active in various apostolates. One good feature of the conference was that before each talk some short presentations were given about these different works: SPUC, Aid to the Church in Need, The Linacre Centre, St Anthony Communications, St Patrick's School of Evangelisation, the Catholic Union, the Catholic Truth Society and Youth 2000.

(The talks were all recorded onto CDs but I'll have to check where these would be available if people want to get copies.)

I commented that for as long as I can remember, people have said that there should be a conference which draws together all the different groups and societies who share a loyalty to the magisterium and a commitment to passing on the faith. The Evangelium Conference has managed to achieve this to an commendable degree. If you didn't manage this year's conference, I recommend snapping up a place when it is advertised next year. Congratulations to Frs Pinsent and Holden for this excellent initiative.
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