NORE Conference: “Brimming with Freshness – The Gospel Message in Catechesis”

Wednesday, May 15 2002

(CCCB – Ottawa) On April 25-28, 2002, close to 400 catechetical leaders from across Canada, the United States, England and Singapore gathered in Ottawa for an experience that would invigorate, challenge, renew and affirm one another in the vital ministry they exercise in the midst of God’s people. The conference was organized by the National Office of Religious Education (NORE) Child Portfolio.

They were there to joyfully give of themselves in responding to the call “to put people not only in touch, but also in communion and intimacy, with Jesus Christ” (General Directory for Catechesis #80).

Led by a gifted team of facilitators, the participants created an experience that was indeed true to the conference theme: “Brimming with Freshness.” They explored facets of the gospel message in catechesis during plenary sessions, and further examined these topics in breakout sessions flowing from the plenaries. They took part in Friday evening activities that included a carousel of displays, focus sessions and showcases. As well, there were informal opportunities for conversation and sharing. Woven throughout the conference was a rich liturgical tapestry of prayer, contemplative reflection and Sunday Eucharist – the source and summit of the experience.

Facilitators for the plenary sessions were Sr. José Hoblay, OSF (Pueblo of Acoma, New Mexico), David Wells (Plymouth, England), Tom Sparough (Cincinnati, Ohio), Fr. Gerard Whitty (St. John’s, Newfoundland), Sr. Sheila O’Dea, RSM (Washington, DC), and Fr. Erik Riechers, s.a.c. (Red Deer, Alberta). Facilitators for the breakout gatherings and other sessions drew for the participants a picture of the face of the catechetical community across Canada and beyond.

The participants who came to the water on Thursday evening thirsting for life, were sent forth on Sunday morning “brimming with freshness,” renewed in their commitment to share the gospel message in catechesis and prepared to “proclaim it, celebrate it, live it and transmit it” (General Directory for Catechesis #78).