The Diocese of Raleigh embarked on the Year of Faith on Saturday, October 20, 2012. With its Catholic Convocation at St. Michael the Archangel Church in Cary, the Diocese joined the universal Church in observing the Year of Faith as announced by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.
In his homily, the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop of Raleigh, challenged those present to imitate the example of Saint Paul. “Despite the sufferings and obstacles he faced, he declared that he was never ashamed of his faith and boldly and courageously professed it,” said Bishop Burbidge. “We must do the same.”
He encouraged those gathered to pray for the Lord to increase their faith, while also praying for the Holy Spirit to enlighten, inflame and purify them. Bishop Burbidge said Catholics must be active participants in their faith, rather than mere spectators.
Following Mass, Father Peter John Cameron, a Dominican priest and editor-in-chief of “Magnificat” magazine, delivered the keynote address. Using humor and anecdotes, Fr. Cameron spoke about the Year of Faith and New Evangelization. “To put it simply, it [the New Evangelization] is an attraction,” he said. Fr. Cameron added that the New Evangelization is about awareness of the need to rediscover our faith, attentiveness to a lived experience (realizing the needs of people today) and an honest appeal to what really moves people.
He spoke of three essentials that Blessed Pope John Paul II said must be present in the New Evangelization: ardor, methods and expression. He provided an example of each, noting that ardor must reflect a love for all that is human. (Watch Fr. Cameron’s keynote address.)
Approximately 50 faith-enriching workshops were offered at the Catholic Convocation. Hundreds of people from throughout the Diocese attended sessions on topics such as reading the Bible, religious education, marriage enrichment and parish social ministry. Anne Hurrey, a parishioner from St. Mary in Goldsboro, attended a workshop titled “Contagious Spirituality: ‘All for Jesus.’” During the session she shared an experience of recovering from a debilitating illness. “I know [Jesus] personally,” she said. “I know what he did for me.”
Dr. Robert McCarty, executive director of the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry, led a workshop titled “Fostering Faith in Adolescents: A Method to the Madness.” Attendees, many of whom were educators, discussed faith experiences and what youths need from Church. The group also discussed teaching young people the reasons behind Church teachings. “If we come off just as a Church of rules and regulations, that’s not going to work … not with this generation,” said Dr. McCarty. “Youth and young adults today are choosing their faith communities based on welcome, not on theology. In the millennial generation, belonging leads to believing. In my generation, believing led to belonging.”
This special Year of Faith will conclude November 24, 2013, on the Feast of Christ the King.
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Read Bishop Burbidge’s homily
Watch Bishop Burbidge’s homily:
Watch segment of Fr. Cameron’s keynote on the New Evangelization:
Watch segment of Fr. Cameron discuss where conversion takes place:
Watch segment of Fr. Cameron discuss importance of charity in Year of Faith
Watch Fr. Cameron’s full keynote address
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Above: Diocesan faithful at celebration of Mass to open the 2012 Catholic Convocation.
Above: Bishop Michael F. Burbidge with priests concelebrating Convocation Mass.
Above: Fr. Peter J. Cameron, OP, presenting keynote talk.
Above: Convocation attendees at one of the 50 workshops offered during the day.