Communion and Coresponsibility in the Church

16 Mar 2012

Communion and Coresponsibility in the Church

Pastoral Conference, September 2012

The biennial pastoral conference, organised on behalf of the Council for Pastoral Renewal and Adult Faith Development, will be held from 13 – 15 September in the Sheraton Hotel, Athlone. The focus of the Conference will be communion and co-responsibility in the Church.

The interest of the Council for Justice and Peace in renewal and reform was one source from which the thrust and theme of this year’s event has evolved. Other sources include calls from various groups for a national forum of some kind. A third source was the Bishops’ interest in deepening the ecclesiological basis of renewal and reform in keeping with vision of Vatican II and building on the experience of the Eucharistic Congress.

Aims of the Conference

Against this background, the conference aims to further the work of renewal and reform in the Church in Ireland at this time.  It has been designed to be of benefit to people who are actively involved in this renewal and reform, as well as to all who are seeking ways to promote change and development.


The event will proceed through reflection on experience, through presentations and conversation, and through structured dialogue between bishops, priests, religious and lay people.

A reflection space dedicated to the conference theme of ‘communion and co-responsibility coming to life in pastoral practice’ has been allocated by the organisers of the Eucharistic Congress at the RDS. The views of those who take part in any of the fourteen formal sessions (workshops), or informally between sessions will be processed and relayed to the September event.

Speaker and topics

Richard Gaillardetz from Boston College has been invited to offer foundational theological underpinnings for the work of renewal and reform.  His presentations will be integrated into processes of reflection and conversation throughout the three days.  Richard, who is a widely acclaimed author, will speak on (1) Vatican II as a conciliar way of being Church, (2) Communion Ecclesiology after Vatican II, (3) Discipleship and Mission and (4) Structured ministry in service of mission. Running through the entire event will be a quest for an understanding of what ‘co-responsibility’ signifies and how it can be brought to life in practice.


The conference will be facilitated by Sr Colette Stevenson and team.  Colette, a Presentation Sister, is a Marriage and Family Therapist who works in Child Safeguarding for the Church.  Colette has been on staff for many Tavistock-type conferences and teaches group processes at All Hallows College.


All are invited to take part in this event.  It is hoped that it will be of particular interest to ordained, lay and religious in ministry in parishes and dioceses, and that it will support those groups from which the Council for Pastoral Renewal and Adult Faith Development draws its membership: the lay pastoral workers network, ecclesial movements and associations of lay faithful,  institutes of theological and pastoral education and training, youth and young adult ministries, CORI/IMU, and the Implementation Committee of Share the Good News (Council for Catechetics).

Venue, programme, cost and booking

The conference venue is the Sheraton Hotel, Athlone.  Registration begins at 11.00 am on Thursday 13 September and the opening session takes place at 12 noon.  Proceedings continue each day until 6.00 pm and it is intended to close with a celebration of Eucharist on Saturday 15 September.  Every effort has been made to harmonise the interests and honour the commitments of participants, including those who will travel long distances, and those who may only be able to join on the Saturday.

The conference fee, which includes breaks and lunch each day, but does not include accommodation, is €140 for the three days, €50 for Saturday only.

Booking is through the Office for Pastoral Renewal and Adult Faith Development, Columba Centre, Maynooth. The conference administrator is Julieann Moran. Email: [email protected].