WASHINGTON (June 25, 1998) -- Lay leaders and organizers of Millennium activities in dioceses nationwide will meet in Denver, September 18-20.
The conference, called "A Reconciling Church: Preparing for the Jubilee Year 2000, " will focus on the importance of reconciliation in church and society and will identify programs and resources that promote healing and forgiveness. Reconciliation is one of the key themes which Pope John Paul II has underscored for the days leading up to the start of the Third Millennium.
National leaders of lay associations, coordinators of diocesan Millennium activities, diocesan staff persons, representatives of diocesan pastoral councils and women's commissions are invited to participate.
The conference formally opens Friday evening with a presentation on "Experiences of Hope in a World in Need of Healing" and explorations of such issues as racism, sexism, broken relationships in marriage and the pain of separation from the ecclesial community.
Panelists for this presentation will include Elizabeth Moffatt and David Thomas of Regis University and Joan Horn, of Landings, a program for persons returning to the Church.
Friday afternoon, prior to the meeting, there will be seven pre-conference groups focusing on concerns of women, publishers, lay ministers, marriage and family, the Third Millennium, young adults and youth.
Saturday's activities include a keynote address by Mercy Sister Marie Chin, Vice-President of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas. Sister Chin's presentation will describe the spirituality of a reconciling community. Round-table discussions will follow the address.
The morning will end with six workshops offering examples of how reconciliation and healing is occurring in church and society. Worskshops and leaders include working on international conflicts led by the Community of St. Egidio; the Catholic Common Ground Project, led by Sacred Heart of Mary Sister Catherine Patten; reaching inactive Catholics, led by Paulist Father John Hurley; men and women working in collaboration, led by Trinitarian Brother Loughlan Sofield and Holy Child Jesus Sister Carroll Juliano; churches responding to racism, led by Sandra Moore-Mann, of the Archdiocese of Denver; and weaving reconciliation into Jubilee Year plans, by Paul Henderson, director of the U.S. Bishops' Office for the Third Millennium and Jubilee Year 2000.
A second afternoon session on "The Church in Dialogue About Healing" will be an open forum among laity and bishops, including Bishop G. Patrick Ziemann, Chairman of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Laity; Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan, Chairman of the Committee on Evangelization; and Bishop Joseph A. Fiorenza, Vice-President of the NCCB and Chairman of the Subcommittee for the Third Millennium.
Also in the afternoon, Norbertine Father Andrew Ciferni, a member of the International Liturgical Commission, and member of Daylesford Abbey in Pennsylvania, will present a session on "The Church Celebrating Reconciliation." This will be followed by a sacramental celebration of reconciliation.
Sunday morning will feature a session on how to translate insights from the conference into action at home and will include summary reflections by the bishops present. The meeting concludes Sunday after an 11 a.m. Mass.
The conference is a shared effort of the Bishops' Committees on Laity, Evangelization, and the Third Millennium. It combines into one program the fourth National Lay Forum and the second Convocation on the Millennium.
Registration fee is $150 and includes program materials, socials and the Saturday evening conference banquet.
Persons seeking registration brochures or information on how to exhibit can contact Tim Reid or Emily Davis at 202-541-3244 (ph), 202-541-3242, (fax), or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.