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Diocesan Catholic Convocation Attracts Large Gathering

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The Diocese of Raleigh Catholic Convocation was held Saturday, October 16, 2010, at Cardinal Gibbons High School in Raleigh. More than 850 people attended the day-long event, which featured keynote addresses and numerous workshops and concluded with the celebration of Holy Mass.

This year’s theme was The Sacred Liturgy: Proclaiming, Celebrating and Witnessing to the Mystery of Christ. The workshops were wide-ranging, but the focus of each dealt with one of the three aspects of the theme.

The Convocation began with Morning Prayer with the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge presiding. Bishop Burbidge welcomed those gathered and introduced the Most Reverend Wilton D. Gregory, Archbishop of Atlanta, who delivered the English keynote address. The Archbishop’s talk focused on being a witness for Christ. Archbishop Gregory shared personal reflections, beginning with his decision to become a Catholic when he was a student at a Catholic grade school on the South Side of Chicago. He noted how a priest at the parish school played a major role in his decision by the priest’s personal witness of Christ.

Archbishop Gregory spoke of the need for Catholics to move beyond the in-fighting that often takes place in the Church. He called for tolerance, adding that we need to stop treating each other in an un-Christian manner. The Archbishop said Catholics need to reflect upon the question, “How have I witnessed to Christ in such a way as to attract others?” He encouraged the gathering to cherish our faith and live it by witness.

The Spanish keynote was given by Sister Doris Mary Turek, SSND, the Multicultural Specialist for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Secretariat for Divine Worship. Sister Doris discussed the forthcoming revised English version of the Roman Missal. She explained that the current Spanish version of the Missal will continue to be used until it is revised. Sister Doris pointed out that the English version will contain more changes than the Spanish because the Spanish language translation is closer to the original Latin.

Workshops were presented by speakers from outside the Diocese as well as ministry professionals from inside the Diocese. Among those invited to present at the Convocation were Msgr. Ray East, Executive Director of the Office of Black Catholics in the Archdiocese of Washington; Ms. Joan Rosenhauer, Executive Vice President US Operations with Catholic Relief Services; Mr. Rogelio Zelada, Director of Hispanic Faith Formation in the Archdiocese of Miami; and Father Robert Webster, Director of the Office of Liturgy in the Diocese of Orlando.

The Convocation concluded with Mass. Archbishop Gregory was the Principal Celebrant. Bishop Burbidge was Principal Concelebrant and Homilist. (See Convocation Mass story.)

In his closing remarks, Bishop Burbidge expressed his gratitude to the Convocation Planning Committee, especially the co-chairs, Sr. Rose Adams, IHM, Executive Director of the Diocesan Office of Catechetical Formation and Evangelization, and Ms. Bea Callery, Director of the Office of Lay Ministry.

The Convocation was well received. Ms. Christine Miesowicz of St. Francis of Assisi Church in Raleigh wrote, “Thank you for an amazingly faith-filled day. I know full well how much planning and organization is necessary for such an event. I am grateful for all your work.”

Ms. Anne Doyle, Director of Faith Formation at St. Mark Church in Wilmington and Cape Fear Deanery Faith Development Coordinator, said, “Thank you so much for providing such a grand opportunity for all in our diocese to further our learning and provide such great speakers to facilitate that process! The Convocation was a huge success!”

Ms. Sue Gammon of St. Catherine of Siena Church in Wake Forest wrote, “All of the folks who came from St. Catherine’s are glad they attended and expressed interest in participating at next year’s Convocation. Thanks for a wonderful Diocesan experience.”

Ms. Fannie Cepeda Pedraza, D. Min., National Consultant for Hispanic Catechesis with RCL Benziger Publishing, applauded the event, calling it inspiring and well organized. She expressed appreciation for the hospitality extended to all the invited guests by Convocation staff and the students of Cardinal Gibbons High School.

Next year’s Convocation is scheduled for October 15, 2011, with the site to be announced.

Above: Morning Prayer at the beginning of Catholic Convocation held at Cardinal Gibbons High School.

Above: Most Reverend Wilton D. Gregory, Archbishop of Atlanta, delivering English keynote address.

Above: Msgr. Ray East, Executive Director of the Office of Black Catholics in the Archdiocese of Washington, DC, presenting at one of the many workshops offered at the Convocation.