Westminster clergy prepare for renewal gathering

 Clergy from across the diocese of Westminster will be packing their bags this evening to prepare for their three day gathering at Butlins in Bognor Regis with Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor. All auxiliary bishops and more than 400 diocesan priests from the Diocese will be staying in the seaside resort from Tuesday to Thursday, "to discuss and plan a major programme of spiritual and pastoral renewal in the Diocese." The day begins on Tuesday with an opening liturgy, an address by the Cardinal and a keynote speech by Cardinal Godfried Daneels from Belgium. During the afternoon there will be talks and reports by Fr John Arnold, Fr Michael Campbell and Sally McAllister, entitled 'At Your Word Lord'. The final session will be with Mgr Harry Turner, Fr Martin Hayes and Fr Stuart Wilson. On Wednesday the day will begin with a talk on 'A Call to Spiritual Renewal' by Mgr Tom Kleissler, from New Jersey, USA, a founder member of the RENEW programme. Fr Tom will "explore approaches for a more co-ordinated and effective ministry in the Church today." There will then be a session entitled 'Spiritual Renewal for the 21st Century' with Michael Brough, director of RENEW, who will be examining "the structure and components of the RENEW parish spiritual renewal process." Bishop Malcolm McMahon OP is also scheduled to speak. The conference ends on Thursday with Mass and a reflection with Fr John McDade SJ. The diocese of Westminster has a Catholic population of nearly half a million, living in 214 parishes spread across the whole of London north of the Thames and Hertfordshire. Earlier this year a questionnaire on renewal was sent out to all parishes in the diocese. The results have not yet been published. Cardinal Cormac said in a statement last week, that he had: "invited the people of the diocese to join him in responding to the call "to deepen our faith and to renew our spiritual lives so that we may be more courageous witnesses to Him in our world today." "The way ahead in our pilgrimage will involve courage, sacrifice and renewed faith in our Risen Lord Jesus Christ. But I promise you that the fruit of our endeavour will be rich in blessings not only for us but also for those who will see and understand the Good News of the Gospel by the way in which they see us live it." While the conference will not be open to the media, a press briefing is taking place in London this morning.

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