Convocation of Catholic Leaders Seen as Historic

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During their spring meeting in Indianapolis, U.S. bishops were reminded that the upcoming Convocation of Catholic Leaders—a gathering they began talking about years ago—is right around the corner.

It will be a historic event, Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, told the bishops June 15 about the July 1-4 “Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America” in Orlando, Fla.

He also noted that it will be the largest gathering sponsored by U.S. bishops and a time to show the unity of the Church.

The Archdiocese of New York is sending an approximately 40-person delegation to the convocation, led by Cardinal Dolan, who will be the celebrant and homilist at the opening Mass Saturday, July 1.

The delegates from New York, who were each selected by the cardinal, will include clergy, men and women religious and laypersons. They are a mix of archdiocesan department directors and parish ministry leaders.

The convocation, an invitation-only event, is meant to give the 3,000 participants expected to attend a better understanding of what it means to be missionary disciples in today’s world through workshop presentations, keynote addresses and prayer.

The plan, from the outset, was to bring Catholic leaders from across the country to closely examine and figure out how to best live out Pope Francis’ call for all Catholics to be missionary disciples in today’s world as expressed in his 2013 apostolic exhortation, “Evangelii Gaudium” (“The Joy of the Gospel”).

Dr. Daniel Frascella, director of adult faith formation, is coordinating the Archdiocese of New York’s delegation. He told CNY “excitement is building” among New York delegates.

Planning meetings have been held this week at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Dunwoodie and at the New York Catholic Center in Manhattan.

“We want to be able to bring about the vision of the missionary Church that Pope Francis calls for in ‘The Joy of the Gospel,’” Frascella said.

Dioceses are sending delegations chosen by their bishops, and other attendees will be key leaders of Catholic organizations, apostolates, missions, congregations, institutions and agencies identified by the USCCB.

Bishop Malone thanked the bishops for supporting the convocation dedicated to forming missionary disciples who can then go out and form others, following the call of Pope Francis.

He urged the bishops to make use of their time in conversations with diocesan delegates during the convocation, and to walk and pray with them. On a practical note, he also suggested that they wear comfortable shoes. —CNS

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