CV International Leaders’ Meeting in Rome: Let’s Work Together

Over 30 representatives of close to 15 Catholic Voices projects across the world met last week in Rome to consider how better to work together and to receive high-level Vatican briefings on universal church topics. 
In the first such meeting since the project was first established in the UK in 2010, coordinators and speakers from across the world gathered for four days of discussion, input and prayer. The 23-27 May Catholic Voices International Leaders’ Meeting was timed to coincide with Pentecost liturgies, and involved 20 different countries and seven different languages. In some cases, the leaders represented established projects, while in other cases they were just starting or hoping to start. 
The leaders received briefings from senior Vatican officials as well as a tour inside the Vatican, including the Secretariat of State and the IOR, or Vatican Bank. There were also visits to the Holy See Press Office for a meeting with Father Federico Lombardi S.J., and to Vatican Radio. 
Among the officials helping the speakers deepen their knowledge of universal church issues were Mgr Steven Lopes from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal George Pell from the Secretariat for the Economy, Fr Michael Czerny S.J. from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and Mgr Paul Tighe from the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. The speakers also heard from Fr Hans Zellner of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, as well as Cindy Wooden of the Catholic News Service and Javier Brocal of Rome Reports. Austen Ivereigh, CV coordinator and author of a papal biography, spoke on the keys to understanding Francis’s reforms, and Dawn Eden, author of My Peace I Give You and The Thrill of the Chaste, spoke on healing from sexual abuse. 
Following a series of presentations, the CV groups identified activities which had not been traditionally part of the project’s activities but which had taken off, especially public speaking programs and the training of teachers, catechists, and diocesan officials. 
The leaders also agreed to work together more closely in the future, sharing resources and briefings on upcoming topics. 
The countries represented at the meeting were from Europe (UK, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Ireland, Italy and Belgium), North America (USA, Canada and Mexico), as well as South America and the Caribbean (Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Argentina, Chile, and Trinidad & Tobago) and Australia.

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