by PETER GRACE
AUCKLAND — About a dozen Catholic lay organisations came together on May 19 to learn more about the work they all do.
The day, held at the St Joseph Centre in Takapuna, was called the Catholic Lay Witness Congress. Organiser Brian Hines said he arranged it because he saw the value in each of the many lay groups in the diocese getting to learn more about what other groups did.
Each group had five minutes to talk about its work, and another five minutes to answer questions.
“I was at the Eucharistic Convention fundraising dinner 12 months ago,” Mr Hines told NZ Catholic. “John Porteous [Eucharistic Convention organiser] was talking, and I had a sense that there was something more going on below the surface.”
He saw Fr Rory Morrissey, Mr Hines said, and realised that Fr Morrissey was at home with not only the Eucharistic Convention, but with Catholic Charismatic Renewal, Divine Mercy, and other groups.
“Most of the people
. . . only stick with their own spirituality, and it came to me that, like the Rugby World Cup, it was as if we are on the same bus going to the same game, supporting the same team, and not talking to each other.
“I thought we need a vehicle to overcome this — and here it is,” he said.
In the last third of 2011 he sat down with his wife, Barbara, at the computer and started organising the congress.
He had tried to balance the people with faith-spirituality [for example, Divine Mercy] with people with good-works spirituality, like Caritas and St Vincent de Paul, he said.
The congress ended with Mass celebrated by Bishop Patrick Dunn, followed by lunch.
Mr Hines said he hoped there would be a second congress in 2014, with even more groups present.
by PETER GRACE