Hundreds of parish leaders and volunteers, Catholic school teachers, members of music ministries, and others from around Maine will gather together on October 4-5 in Lewiston for an experience of fellowship, learning, and prayer.
The “Giving Reasons for Our Hope in Christ” Parish Life Conference will be held at the Ramada Inn & Conference Center on 490 Pleasant Street in Lewiston. The conference is open to anyone serving in a Catholic parish or school in Maine. It aims to help participants recognize and share God’s presence and to be inspired to return to their parishes ready to better encourage discipleship in parishioners.
“By attending the Parish Life Conference, our parish representatives will learn new ways to continue evangelizing those around them,” said Bishop Robert P. Deeley, who will celebrate a Mass at the conference on Saturday, October 5, at 10:30 a.m. “In this coming together, we are reminded that the work of the Church is a community effort with a mission of proclaiming the Good News of the Gospel.”
The conference will begin on Friday evening, October 4, with a keynote presentation by Fr. J. Michael Joncas, composer of “On Eagle’s Wings” and a consultant to the USCCB Secretariat for Divine Worship. The presentation is entitled “Sing to the Lord” and, through a combination of lecture and song, Fr. Joncas will offer a better understanding of the rich musical tradition of the Catholic Church and its role in the liturgy.
Saturday, October 5, will be a blend of learning and celebration featuring Joe Paprocki, master catechist and author, who will present “Finding God at the Intersection of Heaven & Earth,” helping participants see how the Church’s language of mystery both grounds us and enables us to live the sacraments each day through ordinary, tangible experiences.
Following the Mass with Bishop Deeley, those gathered will enjoy an afternoon of exciting workshops with topics and presenters like “Sacredness of Life” with Suzanne Lafreniere, the public policy director for the Diocese of Portland; “Family and Intergenerational Faith Formation” and “Helping Families Share Their Faith” with Mary Pat Heelan, associate director of religious education for the Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts; “Sharing Your Faith Story” and “Accompanying Today’s Teens” with Claire McManus, director of faith formation for the Diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts; “Discernment in Every Day Life” with Sister Elaine Lachance, SCIM; and “Ministry Paradox: Keeping Joy in the Face of Challenges” with Dr. Martha Corkery, pastoral life coordinator for All Saints Parish in Brunswick. Fr. Joncas will also offer workshops on music for the liturgical seasons and choosing music for prayer, and Paprocki will present “Adult Faith Formation in a Busy World.”
Fr. Joncas will deliver a capstone address to the entire conference entitled “Eucharist as Source & Summit of Sharing Hope as Catholics.”
A resource hall with organizations offering information and vendors selling materials helpful to parish ministries will be available at the conference. Among the attending organizations and vendors are the Abbey Catholic Book & Gift Shop in Scarborough, Loyola Press, Sadlier, Pflaum Publishing Group, Pauline Books and Media, Cross Catholic Outreach, Relevant Radio, RCL Benziger, the Diocese of Portland’s Office of Missions/Catholic Relief Services, Project Rachel, and Catholic Charities Maine.
For complete registration information, visit the conference’s website.
The Ramada Inn is offering a discounted room rate (more than 40% off the regular rate). To reserve your room, call the hotel directly at (207) 784-2331 and ask for the Parish Life Conference group rate. The special rate is only available until September 4 or until the discounted room block is sold out.
The Parish Life Conference is sponsored by the Catholic Foundation of Maine, Loyola Press, Sadlier, and the annual Catholic Appeal.