Thursday, August 19, 2010

Liturgy and Catechesis: The 2010 Evangelium Conference

One of our readers in Britain sends in this story.

The 2010 Evangelium conference was held on 6–8 August at The Oratory School, Reading, UK. Now in its third year, it is rapidly becoming a highlight in the annual calendar for young Catholics in England.

The conference focuses on Catechesis and Evangelisation, themes especially dear to the founders of the Evangelium project, Fr. Marcus Holden & Fr. Andrew Pinsent, who have produced a range engaging and innovative catechetical resources published by The Catholic Truth Society, who sponsored the conference.

The organisers gathered an illustrious team of speakers, and this year many of the most notable speakers addressed the theme of Conversion. This was most appropriate since The Oratory School was founded by England’s most illustrious convert to Catholicism, John Henry Cardinal Newman, soon to be beatified by the Holy Father. Fr Joseph Bertram of the Oxford Oratory spoke of the history of Newman’s conversion, and Fr Joseph Carola SJ, a renowned scholar of Patristics, explained its theological underpinnings. Prof Roy Schoemann gave a remarkable account of his own conversion from Judaism, and Fr Aidan Nichols OP made the case for the importance and practicality of the (re)conversion of England, as set out in his recent book, The Realm.

Fr. Aidan Nichols

Workshop sessions addressed a wide variety of topics from Natural Law to Gregorian chant.

A particular strength of the conference is its combination of intellectual and social activities with the spiritual nourishment of the Sacred Liturgy. In addition to the Mass sung each day in the Ordinary Form, the conference includes Eucharistic adoration followed by Benediction, parts of the Liturgy of the Hours, and opportunities for Confession and Low Mass in the Extraordinary Form. The main Masses were celebrated versus Deum, with a comfortable mixture of English and Latin. The Gregorian chants of the Mass and traditional English hymns were sung enthusiastically under the direction of Christopher Hodkinson, an Associate Director of the Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge.

The Altar of the Oratory School

Altogether, the conference provided a wonderful opportunity for young Catholics to meet and be strengthened in the Faith through common prayer, orthodox teaching and stimulating discussion.

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