Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast and New Evangelization Summit organizer Michael Dopp at the first Summit in 2015. CCN file photo

New Evangelization Summit sets an inspiring tone

By 
  • April 28, 2017

OTTAWA – “Inspiration” is an word often heard around the New Evangelization Summit and it has plenty to draw on for this year’s edition May 12-13 in Ottawa.

The third annual summit will feature inspiring talks involving parish renewal, Catholic evangelists and Our Lady of Fatima.

Fr. Michael White and Tom Corcoran, co-authors of best-selling books on parish renewal Rebuilt and Tools for Rebuilding, will address what to do in facing the challenges and problems of parish life, said Summit organizer Michael Dopp.

Rebuilt tells the story of the renewal of Fr. White’s parish Church of the Nativity in the Baltimore archdiocese and how it grew from 1,400 to 4,000 parishioners.

Dopp will speak on the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima.

“I would anticipate a number of speakers will use that as a touch point,” he said.

Our Lady’s message that she kept “repeating over and over” concerned the “importance of prayer, encouraging the children even in their mortifications,” Dopp said. The visionaries displayed “a radical commitment to love God despite the incredible hostility they faced from family, neighbours, their priests and their government.

“Their encounter with Our Lady gave them a kind of singleness of purpose despite a rather unfriendly environment around them,” Dopp said. “In the work of evangelization we face, in an analogous way, a hostile environment.

“We can take Our Lady’s exhortations to help us in the increasingly darkening environment we’re in.

The Summit will open Friday night with Peter Herbeck, vice president and director of missions for Renewal Ministries, who has 30 years experience in renewal and evangelization in North America, Africa and Eastern Europe. Also speaking is Sr. Miriam James of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT), a missionary order. She is also the author of Loved As I Am.

On Saturday, in addition to sessions with the Rebuilt authors, Bishop Robert Barron, Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles and pioneer in using media to evangelize through his Word on Fire website, will give a pre-recorded talk. Bishop Barron hosted the popular Catholicism video series and released Catholicism: the Pivotal Players last September.

“He’s so insightful, such a keen observer of culture,” Dopp said. “We’re really excited about hearing him and what he’s going to offer us.”

The attendees will pray the Rosary together in the late afternoon after a second session with Herbeck. Then Dopp will close the Summit with his talk on Our Lady of Fatima.

“We see with appearances of Our Lady enormous conversions: the apparitions produce great fruit,” he said. The sites inspire pilgrimages and “her messages can call to repentance, deeper prayer and action.”

Miracles are also associated with apparition sites.

“So many people don’t believe in anything supernatural and that makes a dull and rather dreary world to live in, so when miraculous things occur, it shakes them up, makes them question, maybe there is a little more going on,” he said.

The Summit’s main site is at Ottawa’s Infinity Convention Centre, but it will be live-streamed to 39 host sites across North America as well as a site in Guatemala, said Dopp.

The first year, the Summit had 20 host sites, increasing to 30 last year. About half of the host sites are in Canada.

“We have an incredible group of volunteers to make this happen,” he said. “The technical side has worked out really well for the sites.

“The technology allows us to reach so many people,” he said. “We couldn’t have dreamed 25 years ago of reaching so many people with an event like this.”

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