Symposium explores relationship between Sacramental Tradition and Evangelisation

Around 35 delegates gathered in London this week to explore the relationship between Evangelisation and the Catholic Sacramental Tradition.

Organised by the Catholic Agency to Support Evangelisation (CASE), the Faith and Culture Symposium was introduced by Bishop Paul Hendricks, Auxiliary Bishop in  Southwark; he provided an introduction to the theme of the day. This was followed by two papers. Dr Clare Watkins, a Catholic theologian, teacher and writer, presented a paper titled 'Sacraments and Mission: gift, burden, risk and calling.' The final paper was 'Sacramentality and Culture. God's response to His people's cry' delivered by Fr David Evans, a consultor to the Bishops' Conference Department for Dialogue and Unity.

Bishop Hendricks said: "Every Christian is called to be an apostle, to go out into the world and to lead people to Christ. In the Acts of the Apostles we see how the early preachers showed the people of their time that Jesus answered the deepest desires of their heart - but in a way that they had never expected. We need to understand more deeply the hopes, the fears and the longings of people in our own time, including ourselves. In that way we can show people how Jesus is still the answer for each one of us. That, basically, is what today's Symposium on faith and culture is all about."

The Symposium brought together academics, representatives of New Movements and ecumenical partners. The aim was to facilitate a space where those involved in intellectual reflection and those working in missionary outreach could share insights. The programme allowed time for personal reflection, response groups and the celebration of the

Stratford Caldecott is Director of the Centre for Faith and Culture, Oxford and attended the day. He said: "It was a study day that showed what could and perhaps should be done in every diocese. If the essence of the Church is to evangelise, there should be more opportunities like this for people to come together to compare notes and experiences of mission. It was a wonderful chance to hear useful talks and reflect on the challenge of communicating the Gospel in modern life."

Meanwhile Diane Ward, Evangelisation Team Leader, Seekers' Centre, Pantasaph (North Wales), said: "It was a humbling privilege to attend the CASE study day. As someone who works with and leads an evangelisation team the day provided stimulating and moving insights and reflections on our role as evangelists. For me it affirmed our place as bridges between our vast variety of cultures and our sacramental home. The words that speakers shared were 'heart speaks to heart'  and 'deeps calls to deep'; these helped me to understand our beautiful role of being the speaker and caller."

The papers delivered are available online alongside audio mp3 recordings of them. Delegates will continue their discussion online and a paper bringing together their combined insights will be published early 2010.

Source: CCN

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