The first ever national conference for Catholics, focusing specifically on the “new evangelisation”, has been hailed as a “Spirit-filled success”.
Organisers predicted PROCLAIM 2012 – which wrapped up in Chatswood, on Sydney’s north today (Saturday, August 11) – would come to be recognised as a “water shed” moment in the life of the Australian Catholic Church.
Director for the National Office for Evangelisation, Marita Winters said feedback, both formal and anecdotal, proved that the event had “ticked a lot of boxes”.
“It attracted those who were interested in learning more about their faith and how to share it with others, and we covered topics as diverse as engaging with people with disabilities, attracting young people back to the church and equipping people in parishes to more effectively outreach to those disconnected from the institutional church.”
In a show of both solidarity and loyalty to the universal Church, Proclaim 2012 featured input from overseas guest speakers, including Archbishop Rino Fisichella, the President of the Vatican’s newly formed Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation and Martha Fernandez-Sardina, the Director of the Office for Evangelisation in the Archdiocese of San Antonio in the United States.
Mrs Winters said the input of Archbishop Fisichella was significant because it showed that the Vatican took a great interest in how the New Evangelisation was being embraced and implemented by Australian Catholics, while also recognising the Church in Australia was pioneering many innovative ways of spreading the Gospel.
“Some of our workshop presenters, as well as the stall holders that featured at our three-day expo, along with our workshop presenters, are literally at the cutting edge of ministry, mission, outreach and catechesis,” she said.
A highlight of the three-day gathering was a Youth Rally on Friday night (August 10), featuring live music, multimedia and hip-hop and krump dancing.