Tuesday, 1 May 2012
We had an important planning meeting today for the forthcoming international theological conference which is to take pace here at Leeds Trinity. It's entitled "Vatican II, Fifty Years On: The New Evangelisation" and will run between 26th and 29th June. Though I say so myself the list of lecturers is impressive: Archbishop Fisichella (below), who is the President of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelisation (and who taught me when I was at seminary - not, I'm sure that he is aware of that fact!), Cardinal George of Chicago, Cardinal Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for Evangelisation and a host of leading Catholic theologians, such as Professors Gavin D'Costa, Tracey Rowlands and Mathijs Lamberigts. Every continent on the earth is represented (apart from the polar regions). It'll be (one might say without a touch of hyperbole) the most significant event in the Catholic Church in Britain since the Papal Visit. You could be there. Any educated Catholic who loves the Church will find it stimulating and energising. Here's the website link: http://www.leedstrinity.ac.uk/news_events/VaticanIIconference/Pages/default.aspx .
With the conference still in my mind, I watched an interview this evening with Archbishop Fisichella on Salt and Light Television. He described how the new evangelisation requires a new enthusiasm to share our faith. I was interrupted by a knock on the door by a student who had asked to see me about being baptised. Why do you want to be baptised? I asked. "I want to take part in the life of the Church," she said. "I want to give myself in the faith, I want to share my faith with others." No sooner had she gone than a young man arrived who has been thinking off and on about the priesthood. "For the moment I just want to concentrate on responding to the universal call to holiness," he said. People in my generation didn't use to speak in these terms when we were young. Sharing our faith was simply not a priority. Responding to God's call seemed to be the preserve of those who were called to the priesthood and religious life. I think I'm perceiving the first beginnings of a change.