On Saturday, Sept. 27, the diocesan Faith Formation Office will offer an opportunity for people to enrich their faith through its conference “A Good News Event: Sharing the Joy of the Gospel.” The event will take place at the Holiday Inn in Liverpool.
“Our whole staff is very excited about the outstanding presenters and workshops, and the opportunity to meet with the wonderfully dedicated catechists, catechetical leaders and pastors…. and all who come to experience this day with us,” said Cathy Cornue, Diocesan Director of Faith Formation. “From the North, East, West and South, we will gather together to celebrate the Good News of Jesus.”
Cornue believes the attendees will benefit from networking with others from all over the diocese, sharing ideas and experiences. “It will be an experience of evangelization, leading them to want to share the Good News with others,” she said.
Last year, the Faith Formation Office, as a change from offering an annual large conference, sponsored regional conferences throughout the diocese. Cornue said the events were very successful and that people enjoyed the opportunity to attend an event that was closer to their home. “However, we also heard them say that they missed the larger gathering, so we went back to that this year,” she added.
Father Richard Fragomeni, Professor of Liturgy and Preaching at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, will serve as keynote speaker. He spoke at a Journey of Faith conference a number of years ago, and according to Cornue, people remember his energy and passion for sharing the Good News. Recently, Fragomeni served as capstone speaker at the National Conference of Catechetical Leaders Conference. Cornue noted that those who attended were captivated by his enthusiasm and insights.
“I believe he will mirror the joy that Pope Francis writes about, and lead us to envision how we might be more joyful in sharing the Good News about Jesus,” said Cornue. “His keynote, and ‘conversation’ within a workshop setting will energize all who are there to go back to our parishes and share the Gospel with joy and a deepening faith.”
Participants will have the opportunity to choose from among 16 workshops on a wide variety of topics. When developing this year’s workshops, the Faith Formation staff examined the needs of the faith formation community in addition to opportunities for expanding the understanding of their faith. Cornue noted that the workshops would be led by national experts as well as gifted diocesan leaders.
The well-known presenters are knowledgeable about current trends and methods in parish faith formation. Julianne Stanz, Consultant for Loyola Press, will present “Adult Faith Formation: From Information to Transformation.” In her workshop, Stanz will explore such questions as “What does it take to move adults from complacency to vibrancy?” and “How can we intentionally form disciples who are ‘on fire’ for Christ?”
Many of the workshops have been designed to help catechists teach and lead more effectively. In his “Not Just Feet, But Hands and Heads as Well,” Dr. Matthew Davidson from the Institute of Excellence and Ethics, catechetical leaders will learn leadership and organizational change theory and practices.
Father Mark Kaminski, pastor of St. Anthony and St. Agnes in Utica, will present the workshop “The Good News According to Mark.” He will examine the connection between the synoptic Gospels and the Gospel according to St. Mark, as well as the connection between St. Mark and The Joy of the Gospel by Pope Francis.
The remaining workshops explore such topics as the Eucharist, autism, the media, digital storytelling, evangelization, creativity, partnering with parents and sports. Cornue said the workshops would fit everyone’s needs.
The conference begins at 8 a.m. with registration, refreshments and an opportunity to browse the exhibits. Cornue said exhibitors would be present to explain their resources and how they can support the parish programs.
After the opening prayer and keynote address, the Bishop Costello Award will be presented. The award honors Bishop Costello and also recognizes an individual who ministers with similar vision, courage and collaboration.
A buffet lunch will be served following the first workshop. The conference will end with a closing prayer after a second workshop and raffle drawings.
“Bookmarked in prayer, the day begins and ends with reflective and joyful prayer services and a ‘sending forth’ to share the joy of the Gospel in our various ministries and in our everyday lives,” said Cornue. “While this event is sponsored by the Office of Faith Formation, every Catholic is called to share the Gospel by our very lives, not only when we are teaching.”
To register for the conference online, visit faithformationevents.weebly.com. The cost is $40 per person or $35 for five or more people from a parish. Online registration closes on Sept. 22. Walk-in registration is available at $45 per person. For more information and registration assistance, call (315) 797-4030.