Approximately 800 people took part in the annual Diocesan Catholic Convocation Saturday, October 15, 2011, held at Cardinal Gibbons High School in Raleigh. The day-long event featured some 70 workshops on a variety of topics, many of them focusing on the 2011 theme, “Love and Life in the Divine Plan,” the title of a Pastoral Letter on Marriage issued by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in 2009.
The Convocation began with Mass celebrated by the Most Reverend Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Vice-President of the USCCB and past Chair of the Conference’s Ad Hoc Committee on the Defense of Marriage. The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge was Principal Concelebrant and Homilist.
Bishop Burbidge noted in his homily that, according to our Catechism, “The home is a ‘domestic church’ and the first school of the Christian life, where love, forgiveness and prayerful worship are learned.” Pointing out the important role that married couples, parents and families have in the Diocese and the entire Church, Bishop Burbidge cited the challenges we are witnessing in our society with the breakdown of marriage and family life and the challenge to our core beliefs of marriage itself.
Addressing the question of how we can stay strong, courageous and hopeful amidst these challenges, Bishop Burbidge said, “The most important message you must remember are the words that Jesus just spoke to us in today’s Gospel: ‘Remain in my love.’ If we do, all things are possible, and we will produce abundant fruit.”
Archbishop Kurtz delivered the keynote address, which focused on four important points for Catholics to understand and to embrace in upholding God’s gift to the world of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The Archbishop cited a “special urgency” to the situation in our society; a conviction that each of us is important on this issue; the realization that we need to be “equipped to be ambassadors” on behalf of marriage; and the willingness to become involved, especially among family, friends and in our parishes.
Archbishop Kurtz also spoke about efforts to change the definition of marriage. He said the Church and the State have their responsibilities of regulating marriage, but they don’t have the responsibility to redefine it. He added that is not an option. It’s a gift from God.
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Watch Bishop Burbidge’s homily (Windows Media)
Read Bishop Burbidge’s homily
Watch Archbishop Kurtz’s Keynote Address
Above: Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville celebrating Mass at 2011 Diocese of Raleigh Catholic Convocation held at Cardinal Gibbons High School.
Above: Mr. Steven Ellair, Senior Editor of St. Mary’s Press, leading session on “The Seven Spiritual Secrets for Effective Ministry.”
Above: Ms. Susan Vogt, Editor-The Journal of the National Association of Catholic Family Life Ministers, facilitating topic on “Raising Children Who Will Make a Difference.”