First nationwide meeting of Catholics in 100 years
The “Convocation of Catholic leaders: the Joy of the Gospel in America” is scheduled July 1-4 in Orlando, Florida and nine lay, religious, and clergy from the Cleveland diocese will be among the 3,000 Catholics leaders from across the country who will closely examine how to best to live out Pope Francis’s call for all Catholics to be missionary disciples in today’s world. Pope Francis expressed the idea in his 2013 Apostolic Exhortation, “Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel).”
Among the Cleveland leaders attending will be Christopher Knight, superintendent of schools for the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, and Terrie Baldwin, director of the diocesan Office of Evangelization.
Knight says he has been looking forward to this meeting with fellow Catholic leaders. “I hope to learn effective strategies for the formation of young people in our day schools and parish-based schools of religion,” he said, adding that the diocese also will bring to the table what has been working well here with examples like The FEST that annually draws 30,000 young people. “This is a diocese which has embraced forgiveness and mercy, offering lifelong care accompanying people through every aspect of their lives,” Knight said.
Baldwin believes the conference could have great impact on the Church in America. “I am excited to learn through new research, communication strategies and models so that all Catholics in the Diocese of Cleveland can be joyful witnesses to the faith,” she said.
In addition to Knight and Baldwin, the others in the nine-member diocesan delegation are: Hortensia Rodriquez, Office of Catholic Formation and Education; Deborah Martin, St. Stanislaus School in Cleveland; Fr. Michael McCandless, diocesan Vocation Office; Anthony Miranda, St. Rocco Parish, Cleveland; Fr. Stephen Vallenga, Propagation of the Faith office; Vanessa Griffin-Campbell, African-American Ministry office; and Christina Hannon, Coalition for Young Adults.
Dioceses are sending delegations chosen by their bishops. Other attendees will be key leaders of Catholic organizations, apostolates, missions, congregations, institutions and agencies identified by the U.S. Conference of Bishops with the express purpose of better understanding how to spread the word of the church in today’s world.