HARTFORD – Guided by the missionary vision of Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation Evangelii Guadium, or Joy of the Gospel, the Archdiocese of Hartford will send delegates to the Convocation of Catholic Leaders in Orlando, Fla., in July.
The purpose of the national meeting, organized by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, is to discuss the issues facing Catholics in the 21st century. Its ultimate aim is to equip delegates with tools and resources that they can use to evangelize in their respective dioceses.
Archbishop Leonard P. Blair will lead a delegation of 25 people from the archdiocese to the convocation July 1-4. As the chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis,Archbishop Blair played an important role in planning the historic gathering.
The archdiocese's delegation is made up of people who contribute to the local Church in a variety of capacities.The delegation includes catechists and educators, parish leaders, staff members and volunteers, clergy and religious, as well as archdiocesan directors of various ministries and offices. The delegation comprises a diverse cross-section of the archdiocese, and delegates represent a wide range of ages.
The bishops decided five years ago to "convene, challenge and motivate Catholic leaders to embrace the full vision of what it means to be Catholic and fully engaged in the Church's mission of evangelization and to proclaim the Church's vision of the human person," according to the USCCB website.
The delegation will have the opportunity to participate in daily prayer, liturgy and dialogue led by bishops and other distinguished speakers. Members also will attend seminars on diversified topics, including “The Church in the Current Political and Cultural Climate,” “Addressing and Understanding the ‘Throw Away Culture,’” “Violence and Unrest in Our Communities,” “The Impact of Immigration on Catholic Life in the United States,” “The State of the Family and Human Sexuality: Struggles and Opportunities,” “The Landscape of Popular Culture,” “Social Media and Digital Media: Their Impact on the Church Today,” “The Landscape of Parish Life and Catholic Ministry Today,” “The State of Catholic Education and Catechesis in the United States” and “Discerning Vocations, Charisms and Gifts for Mission in the Church and in Society.”
Archbishop Blair says the convocation has come at a very opportune time for the Archdiocese of Hartford. On May 7, he announced the details of an archdiocesan pastoral plan that addresses changes that have occurred within the archdiocese in the last 50 years, including shifts in demographics and declines in Mass attendance and sacramental activity, economic sustainability and priest availability.
“As our parishes merge and reorganize to address these issues, it is important that they receive as much support as possible. My hope is that these delegates will bring back to the archdiocese innovative and creative ideas to share with parishioners,” he said. “For a parish to grow and thrive, the challenge is for every parishioner to realize that being Catholic also means being evangelical, a missionary and a witness for the faith. This is what Pope Francis is asking of all of us.”
Archbishop Blair is asking for prayers for the success of the convocation and for the archdiocese's delegation.
For more information about the Convocation of Catholic Leaders visi www.usccb.org.