The Catholic Church across Yorkshire's historic West Riding since 1878

The Catholic Church across Yorkshire's historic West Riding since 1878

The 2024 Trinity Conference Reviewed

The 2024 Trinity Conference took place in February. Leeds Trinity University’s Chaplaincy Team have sent us this Review. 

Bishop Marcus joined more than 150 people from all over the UK last month, gathered at Leeds Trinity University’s Trinity Conference: a new UK-based platform for the Church to speak on contemporary issues facing those working on the front line of the Church’s mission today. The aim of the conference this year was to ignite a conversation across families, schools, and parishes all over the UK, on the work of evangelisation in a post-Christendom age. We are no longer in a Christian society where certain values, assumptions and privileges are taken for granted. We are, in fact, in a society more akin to the first centuries of the Church, where the Gospel proclamation was a subversive and, oftentimes, dangerous task.

The university’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Charles Egbu, opened proceedings with a reflection on the critical task of understanding the wider political, social and cultural environment in order to respond effectively to it. Delegates were then led in prayer by Archbishop Mark O’Toole, the Chair for Department of Evangelisation and Discipleship for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

One of the day’s highlights was the keynote address given by Monsignor James Shea, the acclaimed co-author of From Christendom to Apostolic Mission and President of the University of Mary in North Dakota. Mgr Shea spoke of the post-Christian reality which has systematically rejected the doctrine of original sin (and therefore the necessity for a Saviour) and has pursued a narrative of self-determination which has no need for God.  He reminded us of the Church as the mystical body of Christ, which takes in to herself all the sufferings of the world and transforms it by the redemptive power of grace. He reminded us that we, though weak, belong to a body made up of saints: a redeemed people, called to be caught up in that same dynamic of being restored in Christ, bringing the culture with us!

Keynote Speaker Mgr James O’Shea

The rest of the day’s input was given through this interpretive lens of a post-Christendom age. Dr Hannah Vaughan-Spruce from Divine Renovation UK spoke about the spiritual detox that parishes must undergo to become apostolic. Claire Fernandes from the Celebrate Trust gave practical tips on how parents can be intentional about introducing their children to the Person of Jesus. Chris Martin, headteacher at St Thomas Aquinas School in Birmingham, spoke about the unique vocation of Catholic schools today in proclaiming to more than 800,000 school children in this country that they are unconditionally loved by God. Dr Ann Marie Mealey then spoke about the work of the Catholic Mission Directorate at Leeds Trinity University and the importance of personal prayer in remaining steadfast in proclaiming Christ in the culture. Finally, Dr Greg Stacey proposed a great challenge to the traditional catechetical model of ‘question and answer’, and instead suggested that different groups of people are in Church for different reasons and so building teams of catechists who have proficiency in responding to various lines of enquiry on varying levels is the task of contemporary catechesis.

We were also joined by various evangelisation initiatives from all over the UK in the mission marketplace exhibition. It was wonderful to share some of the great practice that goes on in our country for the new evangelisation.

After a packed day of high-level content, we ended the day simply, humbly and reverently at the feet of Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration (led by the Youth 2000 mission team); for ultimately it is the Holy Spirit who evangelises, and He begins with each one of us. Our God lives and moves and evangelises in every age, including our own.

Trinity Conference delegates came from across the UK


The Conference closed with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament: worship was led by members of Youth 2000’s mission team