Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of January 21, 2002
Bishops highlight Catholic Conference
By RENATO GANDIA
WCR Staff Writer
The upcoming Witness to Love conference promises experts talking about everything from bioethics, sexuality, liturgical music and married life, to spirituality and Eastern Christian theology.
Officially called Catholic Conference 2002, the event is slated for March 8-10 and will take place at the Shaw Conference Centre.
The Alberta Conference of Catholic Bishops (ACCB) and Alberta Catholic School Trustees' Association (ACSTA) jointly sponsor this conference.
"We selected the theme deliberately as a follow up on Ecclesia in America, a papal encyclical that talks about witnesses to love," conference chairperson Lois Burke-Gaffney told the WCR.
Archbishop Thomas Collins will preside at a Eucharistic celebration at St. Joseph's Basilica when the conference opens March 8, while Bishop Frederick Henry will lead the closing ceremony March 10 at Shaw Centre.
Bishops giving talks include Gerry Wiesner, Eugene Cooney and Raymond Roussin of British Columbia and Paul-André Durocher of Ontario.
Renowned North American musician and liturgist Father Jan Michael Joncas, professors from Catholic universities in the U.S. and St. Joseph's College and Newman College will also give presentations.
Started in 1998, this biannual conference is inspired by events such as the Anaheim Conference of the Los Angeles Archdiocese in the U.S. and Saskatchewan's Conference of Hope.
The meeting hopes to draw a wide representation of the Catholic laity throughout Alberta and gather people to celebrate and grow in the knowledge and understanding of Christian faith.
To emphasize being educated in Catholicity, organizers changed the name of the conference to Catholic Conference from Catholic Education Conference.
In the previous years there was a confusion the conference was meant for Catholic educators.
"It was not meant strictly for the educationalist, but for everybody to be educated in our Catholicity," Burke-Gaffney said. "Whatever their interests are, we are looking for a wide representation of different sectors of the laity in our province."
Parents who have school-age children are encouraged to participate and profit from this provincial event. "This is really an opportunity for them to make a connection with the Catholic community in the province," said Burke-Gaffney.
Bringing the whole Catholic community together and recognizing that each one can draw strength, courage and inspiration from one another will certainly add to the strength of their own faith, she said.
A youth day is also incorporated within the conference. More than 1,000 students from the province are expected to participate in the event that features the Christian rock music of Mark Mallett and a presentation by Pam Stenzel entitled Sex Has a Price Tag.
Organizers hope this conference will broaden in scope to include all of Western Canada. "We would like to have an opportunity for Western Canadians to have access to a high quality, first class conference on Catholicity," Burke-Gaffney said.
People are encouraged to register by Feb.1 and take advantage of an early registration fee. More information about the conference is available online at www.catholicconference2002.ab.ca or call (780) 484-6209.