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Mid-Atlantic Congress designed to engage, inspire pastoral leaders

Pastoral and administrative leaders looking to learn about current trends and best practices in ministry while also enriching their spiritual lives are encouraged to attend the Mid-Atlantic Congress, set for Jan. 30-Feb. 1 at the Baltimore Hilton Hotel.

Co-sponsored by the Association of Catholic Publishers and the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the eighth-annual gathering is expected to attract more than 1,500 people from 60 dioceses, mostly from the East Coast.

John Romanowsky, executive director of the Department of Evangelization for the Archdiocese of Baltimore, said the congress helps leaders to “really dig deep” into the mission of becoming missionary disciples and to be “better equipped and inspired” to make missionary disciples of others.

“We really intend this for anybody who is engaged in ministry of any kind in the parish,” Romanowsky said. “We’re all called to some kind of ministry and there’s something for everyone.”

Pastors, directors of religious education, youth ministers, pastoral associates, Catholic school educators, administrative assistants and many others are all invited, he said.

Keynote addresses will be delivered by Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of the Archdiocese of Newark and Dr. Timone Davis, an assistant professor in the Institute of Pastoral Studies at Loyola University Chicago.

Pallottine Father Frank Donio, former pastoral director of St. Jude Shrine in Baltimore and current director of the Catholic Apostolate Center in Washington, D.C., will lead a keynote panel discussion on the “art of accompaniment.”

In addition to numerous workshops, “intensive courses” will be offered on the following topics: “Building Intercultural Competence for Ministers,” “The Church in Crisis: A way forward for Catholic Laity” and “Praying and Singing with Children.”

Romanowsky encouraged clergy to participate in a special intensive course called “Growing an Engaged Church: The Faith Community Challenge,” which will help priests and deacons understand the latest data on the decline in denominational members, especially among young people. Training will be offered to help better engage and evangelize those who don’t connect with the institutional church, he said.

Numerous Catholic publishers will provide an opportunity to see what’s available in the latest cutting-edge resources for ministry, Romanowsky added.

Craig Gould, director of the Division of Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the Archdiocese of Baltimore, noted that the theme of this year’s congress is taken from the four marks of the church: “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic.” Four nationally known Catholic women will address each of those topics.

“We really wanted to highlight the role that women are having on the church and the leadership role they are taking,” he said.

Intercultural liturgies will be offered, along with a special concert featuring John Angotti, Pedro Rubalcava and friends. Archbishop William E. Lori will also celebrate Mass at the congress.

“We come together to pray together and be together as the body of Christ,” Gould said.

Those who register by Dec. 1 receive an “early-bird” discount.

More information: (410) 988-2926 or www.midatlanticcongress.org

Listen to a radio interview with John Romanowsky and Craig Gould about the Mid-Atlantic Congress below.