“He Thirsts For You” 2019 National Evangelization and Catechesis Conference Receives Praise From AttendeesThursday, April 18 2019
Ottawa – The recent conference, He Thirsts For You, hosted by the Episcopal Commission for Evangelization and Catechesis (English Sector) of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) was a successful initiative. A comprehensive agenda featuring a one-person play by Elisa Lollino, keynote speakers Dr. Josephine Lombardi, Father Ron Rolheiser, O.M.I. and the Most Reverend William McGrattan, as well as a variety educational workshops, attracted over 200 participants to Ottawa for the two-day event held from 4 to 6 April 2019.
Recognizing more than a decade has passed following the last national conference on catechesis, hosted by the then National Office for Religious Education (NORE, now the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis), planning and organization for the 2019 conference began in 2016. The theme, He Thirsts For You, was inspired by the Gospel passage John 4:5-42 – the Samaritan Woman at the Well. The biblical account describes the experience of a woman who encounters Jesus and, as a result of this transformative meeting, embarks on a journey of evangelization to bear witness about her experience to the people in her village.
“It is our hope that the participants’ encounter with Christ during this conference will resonate with them long after they leave the meeting room,” said the Most Reverend Héctor Vila, Bishop of Whitehorse and Chair of the conference organizing committee. “Equally important is that participants apply what they have experienced to their own pastoral work, and continue to develop activities and programs that lead people to encounter Christ and go forward as missionary disciples as did the Samaritan Woman at the Well.”
Conference attendees represented a cross-section of individuals involved in evangelization and catechesis throughout Canada including Bishops, priests, diocesan pastoral workers, parish catechists, members of movements and associations, as well as personnel in Catholic education. At the conclusion of the event, participants spoke about the quality of the keynote speakers, inspirational information presented and discussed during workshop sessions, and the hosting of the conference itself as a means to encounter others for the purposes of sharing faith and discussing commonalities in their work.
The Office for Evangelization and Catechesis will post videos and presentations from the conference on its webpage (http://www.cccb.ca/site/eng/office-for-evangelization-and-catechesis) in the coming weeks. Future conferences on evangelization and catechesis will be considered following an analysis of participant evaluations and in consultation with the CCCB’s Executive Committee and Permanent Council.