57 men and women from across the Diocese of Orlando will be joining with thousands of faithful from across the United States for the Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America, hosted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Orlando from July 1 – July 4, 2017. The Orlando delegation contains priests, religious sisters, deacons, parish and diocesan staff, and parishioners who work in all areas of ministry including education, vocations, marriage, social justice, sacramental preparation, stewardship, and multi-cultural ministries. While their work with the Body of Christ is varied, each member of the delegation will share a mission to learn how to more effectively bring the joy of the Gospel to the people of God and the culture at large.
Inspired by Pope Francis’ encyclical Evangelii Gaudium, the Convocation will bring together and form leaders who will be equipped and re-energized to share the Gospel while offering fresh insights informed by new research, communications strategies, and successful models. Keynote speakers and breakout sessions will assess the challenges and opportunities of the time, particularly in the context of the Church in the United States, and discuss strategies for forming missionary disciples to animate the Church and to engage the culture.
“We will be teachers and also students,” said Bishop John Noonan at a preparatory gathering of the Orlando delegation in June. “We will learn from one another. All of us have the responsibility to bring back and share what we have contributed and received. That will be so important.”
Rafael Gerena, marketing and communications manager for the Catholic Foundation of Central Florida will be attending the Convocation. A native New Yorker, he has watched with sadness as his home parishes have closed over the years and family members have left the Church.
“It hurts me when I see it,” shared Gerena. “The question that preoccupies me is how do I do my little part to help share our Catholic faith with a world that is growing indifferent and is so preoccupied with things that have no meaning. Together, all of us attending need to combine our talents to advance our shared Catholic faith. A robust Catholic Church makes the world a better, happier place.”