Staged at St Benedict’s High School on June 1 and 2, the event provided high-profile speakers, workshops and a full programme for younger age groups – led by the Ignite Youth Team.
The opening speaker was founder of the Celebrate conferences Charles Whitehead, a past president of the International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services and a Papal Knight.
Charles said: “We are always in a time of change and nothing stays the same – God moves on and is always challenging us. The Spirit is a spirit of change who wants to move us on all the time,” he said. “There is also a strong possibility that the Lord’s new things is going to be challenging.”
Charles also spoke about Pope Francis’ vision to launch Charis at Pentecost – a move to bring all of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal bodies into a single movement to oversee everything charismatic in the Church.
“In Pope Francis we have a Pope who is strong and courageous and we now have an opportunity to promote the importance of the Holy Spirit,” said Charles.
“The Spirit is the presence of God in us and at Celebrate conferences we offer the experience of the Spirit for the whole family,” he said. “The challenge today is to bring the experience of renewal into your parish and church – we are called to mission not maintenance.”
Other speakers included Fr Chris Thomas, who is director of the Irenaeus Project and a trustee of the Catholic Renewal in England and Wales and Mary Hardiman, counsellor and specialist in teenage mental health.
The conference also enjoyed praise and worship from the Celebrate band, led by Hamish MacQueen and mime from Steve Murray.
Workshops included Baptism in the Holy Spirit, Growing in the Prophetic, Mothers Prayers, Walking in the Spirit and Prayer – the Journey to Union with God.
On Sunday Bishop Alan closed the conference by celebrating Mass with everyone.