.- More than 2,000 international delegates, among them five cardinals, took part in the third International Congress for the New Evangelization last week in Lisbon.
Msgr. Keith Barltrop, national director of the UKâs Catholic Agency to Support Evangelization, was part of the UK delegation, led by Bishop Charles Henderson, retired Auxiliary Bishop of Southwark Diocese. The congress was organized under the theme âChrist Lives.â
"I think the time has come to lose the stereotype that Catholics don't get involved in evangelization,â said Msgr. Barltrop. âThe witness of a well-attended and dynamic international conference such as this Congress demonstrates the high importance that the Church places on sharing our faith with others."
The congress is the initiative of five cardinals, who had a vision of putting evangelization at the heart of European life and responding to the call of Pope John Paul II to engage in the re-evangelization of Europe. It aims to provide a European model for parish evangelization.
Msgr. Barltrop said the congress "has not only reaffirmed participants in their role as evangelists, but also transformed the way local Portuguese parishes and UK delegates view what they have to offer a modern European city.â
The monsignorâs agency presented two workshops at the congress, titled: 'How to make parish life more missionary' and 'Mission without jargon', inspiring delegates from Australia, Belgium, France and Spain to set up similar agencies.
The ICNE with each parish putting on coordinated local outreach events during the duration of the Congress.
Delegates also spent one day visiting the Marian Shrine in Fatima. The Statue of Our Lady of Fatima left the shrine for the first time in 50 years Nov. 12, and about 1.5 million people took part in a procession through the streets of Lisbon before the Congress was consecrated to her. St. Therese of Lisieux's relics, which have done a tour of Portugal, were also in the Cathedral of Lisbon all week.
For more information about the Congress and for transcripts of talks go to: www.icne-lisboa.org