The Bishops of England and Wales have just returned from a week-long retreat on Guernsey. The theme this year was evangelisation, and three leading spiritual writers: Timothy Radcliffe OP, Michael Paul Gallagher SJ and Brian Appleyard were the guest speakers. Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue told ICN today: "We are living through a period of great change. The church will be very different in the future. But the message that came across to me during our retreat was to have confidence in the Holy Spirit in spite of difficulties. It was wonderful that there was a group of bishops praying together with faith and hope, like Jonah. There are many signs of spirituality in our culture. Science doesn't have all the answers and people are searching for meaning in their lives. There is a great openness to the spirit and I see many signs of hope." At their conference next month the bishops will be discussing plans for a new agency for evangelisation, due to be set up next year. Andrew Summersgill, general secretary of the Bishops' Conference explained that the agency, which will be staffed by six people, will partly fulfil the role of the Catholic Missionary Society which is in the process of closing down. It will also have a much wider remit - looking at new ways of evangelisation in the community.
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