120 parish representatives to attend ‘Our Parish, Our Common Home’ conference inspired by Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’

10 Apr 2019

You or a representative are invited to attend a conference entitled ‘Our Parish, Our Common Home’ which is inspired by Pope Francis’ 2015 Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’ (on care for our common home). Details:

Date and Time:  Friday 12 April 2019 9:30am

Venue: SMA Dromantine Retreat and Conference Centre, Newry, Co Down.

In attendance:  Bishop Alan McGuckian SJ, Bishop of Raphoe and Chairman of the Council for Justice and Peace/NICCOSA; Bishop Noel Treanor, Bishop of Down & Connor; Bishop Philip Boyce OCD, Apostolic Administrator of Dromore; Bishop Larry Duffy, Bishop of Clogher; and Speakers at the event: Emeritus Professor John Sweeney; Dr Lorna Gold, Trócaire; Dr Dermot A. Lane; Dympna Mallon; Catherine Devitt; Sister Margaret Rose McSparran; and Finbarr Keaveney.

Background:  The conference ‘Our Parish, Our Common Home’ aims to explore faith responsibilities presented by Pope Francis in his 2015 encyclical letter Laudato Si’ (On care for our common home).  The conference will be held in the SMA Dromantine Centre, Co Down, and will be hosted by the Northern Ireland Catholic Council on Social Affairs; the Bishops’ Council for Justice & Peace and the Laudato Si’ Working Group of the Council for Catechetics.  The conference will be attended by 120 parish representatives from parishes across Northern Ireland.

Notes to Editors

  • Photographs are available on request from Liam McArdle on  +44 (0) 7900 107362 and at the following gallery from Friday 12 April http://www.liammcardle.com/photo-galleries/gallery/laudato-si/
  • The event will be live-streamed on Facebook on the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference page [@IrishCatholicBishops]
  • The official social media hashtag for the event is #LaudatoSiDay
  • Schedule for the Day:

9.30- 10.00am             Registration and refreshments on arrival

10.00-10.20am            Introduction and Opening Prayer

10.20 -10.35am           ‘The Science Bit’ – Professor John Sweeney

10.35-10.50am            Introduction to Laudato Si’ – Dr Lorna Gold

10.50-11.10am            The Theology and Spirituality of Laudato Si’ – Dr Dermot Lane

11.10-11.20am            Group discussion and reflection

11.20-11.30am            Break  

11.30-12.00pm            Panel discussion – Moderator: Kate Liffey                                  

12.00-12.15pm            Integral Ecology and Climate Justice – Dympna Mallon

12.15-12.30pm            Living Laudato Si’; Caring for all God’s Creatures – Catherine Devitt

12.30-1.00pm              Reflection and panel discussion – Moderator: Sr Mary De Largy

1.00-2.00pm                Lunch and free time to explore the nature on site

2.00-2.10pm                Introduction to the afternoon and prayer

2.10-2.50pm                Inspiring Ideas – Laudato Si’ in Action

2.50-3.30pm                Panel discussion – Moderator: Fr Tim Bartlett                                 

3.30-3.40pm                Feedback from the day and burning questions Moderator: Will Scholes

3.40-3.50pm                Conclusion and Closing Prayer

3.50-4.00pm                Laudato Si’ Pledge followed by thumbprint commitment

  • Speaker biographies:

Emeritus Professor John Sweeney is a climate scientist who has worked on climate change issues for almost 40 years at Maynooth University and has over 100 publications on this and related topics. He has been a Contributing Author and Review Editor to the IPCC 4th Assessment Report and attended both COP21 in Paris and the launch of Laudato Si’ in Rome.

Dr Lorna Gold is Coordinator of the Laudato Sí Project in Trócaire and vice-chair of the Global Catholic Climate Movement board. She is a member of the Laudato Sí Working Group of the Council for Catechetics. She also lectures in Maynooth University and is a member of the ministerial advisory group on the National Climate Dialogue. Her most recent book published by Veritas, ‘Climate Generation – Awakening to our Children’s Future’ tells the story of a mother waking up to the intergenerational challenge of climate change.

Dr Dermot A. Lane is a priest of the Dublin diocese, recently retired as Parish Priest, and now serving as Parish Chaplain in Balally Parish.  He is author of several books, most recently Catholic Education in the Light of Vatican II and Laudato Si’, Veritas, 2015.  He is also a contributor to Laudato Si’: An Irish Response, edited by Sean McDonagh, Veritas, 2017.

Dympna Mallon has a degree in Law, a degree in Theology and Lifelong Education, and a Masters in Theology centred on Laudato Si’.  She has been Laity Coordinator for the SMA Irish Province since January 2013, working with all the groups of lay people already engaged with the mission of SMA, and developing new forms of outreach and engagement.

Catherine Devitt is Environmental Justice Officer with the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice. The Centre collaborates with other NGOs and international Jesuit partners to advocate for climate justice. Much of Catherine’s work also involves looking at how the Jesuits in Ireland can improve their environmental footprint. Catherine comes from an academic background in environmental policy. She lives in Glendalough, home place of St. Kevin, where she grows fruit and vegetables, and is involved in the local Tidy Towns group and Sustainable Energy Community.

Sr Margaret Rose McSparran is a Sister of the Cross and Passion, who has been involved in educational work in Ireland and overseas.  Since graduating from the Earth Literacy Programme at Genesis Farm in New Jersey in 1997, she has been leading workshops and retreats on the Universe Story and Care of the Earth throughout Ireland and England. She is Director of Drumalis Retreat and Conference Centre in Larne, where she is currently involved in retreats and workshops and in developing programmes and projects in ecology.

Finbarr Keaveney is from the Parish of Maghera Theology group. This group was formed 9 years ago and is presently 15 strong, open to all denominations, free of charge and meets weekly. Reading aloud from books by authors like Michael Morwood, Margaret Nutting Ralph and Richard Rohr the group’s ensuing discussions have proved enlightening and transforming. It is presently enjoying studying Laudato Si’ and has recently completed the Eco-Congregation Ireland Awareness Award.

Moderators: Kate Liffey is National Director of the Council for Catechetics at the Irish Bishops’ Conference which includes the Laudato Si’ Working Group of the Council. Sr Mary De Largy is a Sister of Mercy based in Downpatrick and a member of the Northern Ireland Catholic Council on Social Affairs. Fr Tim Bartlett is a priest of the Diocese of Down and Connor and was Secretary General of the World Meeting of Families 2018. Will Scholes is Religious Affairs Correspondent with The Irish News.

For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Brenda Drumm 00353 (0) 87 310 4444.