August / September 2015 - Vol. 81
New Movements Conference 2015
 Report on the New Movements Conference
Held in Glasgow, Scotland, June 19-20, 2015

by Michael Jordan

The Community of the Risen Christ from Glasgow recently organized and hosted a “New Movements Conference” for communities, movements, and groups in Scotland. Over 200 people attended the conference, representing some 20 groups in Scotland, including Sword of the Spirit, Focolare, Neocatechuminate Way, Marriage Encounter, Schoenstatt Family Movement, and Charismatic Renewal in Scotland.
new movements conference flyer
The conference was designed as a teaching conference looking at the place of the New Movements in the Church - but with such a wide representation of participants it was much more than that.  It was a witness to the action of the Holy Spirit working in the lives of individuals and their various groups and their faithfulness to the call of God.

Bruce Yocum, an international leader in the Sword of the Spirit, gave the opening address on God’s call to movements in service to the church. He summed up this call as a simple sequence of God's initiative and our response: God calls us, we respond, then God equips us with the charism to fulfill that call.  Bruce gave several examples from the Scriptures - from the call of Abraham, David, Isaiah, and the call of the Apostle Paul -  to illustrate how God equips people to carry out the call given to them.

Monsignor Bob Oliver, a member of  the Brotherhood of Hope who works in the Vatican as Secretary of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, addressed the role of movements in the church from an historical perspective. He traced the action of the Holy Spirit in raising up movements throughout throughout the life of the Church.

Monsignor Bob

Drawing from an address from the then Cardinal Ratzinger in 1998 to a gathering of the leaders of New Movements in Rome, Oliver described the waves of the Spirit that came about in response to the needs of the time.  From the time of Antony and the early desert fathers, through the time of the monasteries of Cluny, the mendicants of Francis and Dominic in 12th century and the missionary expansion of the 18th and 19th centuries we are now seeing a new age with a new need.

Oliver quoted from Cardinal Ratzinger who described the new movements in the church as a 5th wave of the Spirit.  Where God is raising up in our time men and women, Movements and Communities to respond to the call of God in response to an age of widespread apostasy.

Oliver posed the question ‘What does the Holy Spirit want of us?’  In answer he explored the two terms ‘vita evangelica’ and ‘vita apostolica’.  Our ‘vita evangelica’ is a new response to the universal call to holiness in our local groups but also in our personal lives. Our ‘vita apostolica’ is our active engagement in mission through building Christian communities to draw others to Christ in service to the Church, society and the world - a mission that Pope John Paul II called a ‘new evangelisation’ for our time.

Mass at New
                            Movements Conference

In the homily at the final Eucharist, celebrated with Bishop emeritus Maurice Taylor, and four other priests, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia gave a resounding affirmation and encouragement to all the Movements represented, saying:
A feature of the 2012 Synod of Bishops in Rome on New Evangelisation was the great appreciation for the new movements among the bishops as a really important locus of evangelising power and energy in the Church. In fact, I would go as far as to say that the new movements may well be the single most important catalyst in the Church for evangelisation in the future.

Quotes from participants

"The Holy Spirit is at work here. There is a clear plan of God in the unity of the Movements and in the witness to the world. Grazie a Dio.”                                  
Maria Grazia Niola, Focolare

"A fantastic witness of community; seeing the different works and charisms coming together to show the beauty, the richness and the fullness of the Church represented in all ages and gender and in laity and religious."                                                                      
Kate Curran, Catholic Youth Office

"Exceptional, well organised, uplifting and joyful experience, bringing us all together and enhancing the Community Spirit".                                                       
Tom Catterson, Life in the Eucharist

"The most inspiring and reassuring conference I have ever attended".
Michael Mitchell, Charismatic Renewal

“Inspiring and encouraging.  I hope this leads to other fruitful ways to listen and share with each other”
Tony Coultas, Communityof Our Holy Redeemer

“It was very interesting - the historical perspective and the talk of the vita evangelica and vita apostolica. We are all in the same way.
Mari Carmen Sanchez, Neocathechumenate way

"There is nothing so uplifting as being in the presence of people, especially young people, who are open to Jesus and to the Church; to be in company with people whose eyes are fixed on The Lord. Your freshness, energy, enthusiasm and joy in Christ Jesus is so good; it is so good to see you today... The gift of New Movements to the Church, fixed on Jesus and his Word brings new faith, hope and energy to the Church".                                       
Archbishop Philip Tartaglia (closing homily)

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