Nearly 350 priests and bishops from all seven dioceses of Louisiana will attend the 2013 Louisiana Priests’ Convention Sept. 17-19 at the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel in New Orleans.
The priests will hear major addresses on the priesthood relating to the convention’s theme of “Treasuring the Past, Celebrating the Present, Envisioning the Future.”
Three major addresses on the priesthood will be delivered during the gathering:
Atlanta Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory will speak Sept. 17 on “Celebrating the Present”;
Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, the archbishop of Boston, will deliver a homily on “Treasuring the Past” at a 5 p.m. Mass Sept. 18 at St. Louis Cathedral.
New Orleans Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond will close the gathering Sept. 19 with his talk on “Envisioning the Future.”
In addition to those addresses, breakout sessions will be offered Sept. 18 by five nationally known speakers on various aspects of church life:
Dominican Father Peter J. Cameron, the award-winning editor-in-chief of Magnificat magazine, will speak on preaching;
Rocco Palmo, Philadelphia-based creator of the Catholic blog site “Whispers in the Loggia,” will discuss using technology and social media for evangelization;
Father Tad Pacholczyk, director of education at the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia, will speak on bioethics and end-of-life issues;
Father Bill Dickinson, vice president of ministry development and episcopal services for the Catholic Leadership Institute in Wayne, Pa., will discuss parish administration;
Msgr. Michael Jamail, vicar general of the Diocese of Beaumont, will address clergy relationships across generational lines.
“One of the gifts we have in the state of Louisiana is that the vast majority of our priests have been in the seminary together at St. Ben’s and at Notre Dame Seminary,” Archbishop Aymond said. “It gives us an opportunity to come back with friends and classmates and to share in fraternity. It also gives us an opportunity to pray together and to spend some time focusing on the meaning of the priesthood of Jesus Christ.”
“A big component is continuing education, but the key dynamic is the guys getting together with their classmates from the seminary, both college and theology,” said Msgr. Frank Giroir, pastor of St. Anselm Church in Madisonville who is convention co-chair along with Father Rodney Bourg, pastor of Most Holy Trinity Parish in Covington.
“We’ve gotten participation from every diocese in the province on the planning committee,” Msgr. Giroir said. “Everyone feels as if they have been part of the process.”
Many priests have made plans to go out to dinner with their seminary classmates.
“Hopefully, this is just an affirmation of their priesthood,” Father Bourg added. “It’s the camaraderie, the fraternity and getting to spend time with brother priests, especially those who are in rural areas and don’t have a lot of priestly contact.”