Lisbon conference looks at 'mission without jargon'

 Mgr Keith Barltrop, national director of the Catholic Agency to Support Evangelisation (CASE), was last week part of a UK delegation attending 'Christ Lives' - the International Congress for the New Evangelisation (ICNE) in Lisbon. More than 2000 international delegates, among them five Cardinals, took part. Mgr Barltrop said: "I think the time has come to lose the stereotype that Catholics don't get involved in evangelisation. The witness of a well-attended and dynamic international conference such as this Congress demonstrates the high importance that the Church places on sharing our faith with others." The Congress, which is now in its third year, is the initiative of five Cardinals who had a vision of putting evangelisation at the heart of European life and the Catholic agenda - a practical response to the call made by Pope John Paul II, to engage in the re-evangelisation of Europe. Mgr Barltrop said the congress "has not only reaffirmed participants in their role as evangelists, but also transformed the way local Portuguese parishes and UK delegates view what they have to offer a modern European city. CASE is delighted to be playing a leading role in helping Catholics in England and Wales to incarnate this vision of an evangelising Church." CASE took a key role at the event and animated two workshops to international audiences titled: 'How to make parish life more missionary' and 'Mission without jargon'. The workshops stimulated calls from Australian, Belgium, French and Spanish delegates for a 'CASE' to be set up in their own countries. The Agency was also responsible for coordinating the UK delegation which was led by Bishop Charles Henderson, retired Auxiliary Bishop of Southwark Diocese. Bishop Henderson said: "I encourage Catholics in England and Wales to be courageous in sharing their faith. We can be fully confident that we have Good News to offer people, namely that human life is only real and true when it is enlivened and enriched by the Gospel." The ICNE event aims to provide a European model for parish evangelisation with each parish putting on coordinated local outreach events during the duration of the Congress. The wider Congress programme was made up of talks, workshops (one of which was given by another UK delegate, Mary Callan, titled 'New Life in Old Stories'), and outreach events; every opportunity to put evangelisation theory into practice was utilised. Delegates also spent one day visiting the Marian Shrine in Fatima. On 12 November, the Statue of Our Lady of Fatima left the Shrine for the first time in 50 years and about one and a half million people took part in a procession through the streets of Lisbon before the Congress was consecrated to her. St Therese of Lisieux's relics, which have done a tour of Portugal, were also in the Cathedral of Lisbon all week. For more information about the Congress and for transcripts of talks please see:

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