The Catholic Parish Summit took place at the Harrogate Convention Centre from 12-14 June and aimed at reawakening the missionary heart of our parishes. 

Bishop David Oakley joined Archbishop Mark O’Toole and Bishops Patrick McKinney, Marcus Stock and Philip Moger at the conference.

Organised by Divine Renovation, the Summit was attended by almost 900 people from across the world including 12 bishops, 200 priests and around 240 parishes and organisations from 19 different countries including Australia and New Zealand. Around 30 participants from 9 different parishes travelled to Harrogate including 4 priests, 2 deacons, 1 seminarian and a bishop who all responded to the question, ‘Where is your parish going?’.

The focus of the summit was on parish renewal and over the three days we heard testimonies from parishes already on the renewal journey. All the parishes who spoke had commonalities, a reliance on the power of the Holy Spirit, collaborative leadership and intentional evangelistic ministries. 

The keynote speakers featured Dr Hannah Vaughan-Spruce, a catechetical expert and author; Fr. James Mallon, founder of Divine Renovation, who presented a Vision of Hope for the Church; Sr. Miriam James Heidland, who highlighted the importance of healing in leadership, including self-healing; Nicky Gumbel, founder of the Alpha Course, who discussed initiating the transformation of nations; and Fr. Mathia Thelen, founder of Encounter Ministries, who emphasized the Holy Spirit as the driving force of Mission.

Moreover, various breakout groups addressed topics like Leading with Hope and Vision, Equipping Young People for Parish Renewal, Where is the Parish Going?, Multiplying Your Missional Impact Beyond the Parish, and The Domestic Church at the Heart of Renewal, among others. Each session was uniquely inspiring and instilled in us hope for the future. Bishop David took part in a break out session by joining panelists to discuss the theme of ‘Leaders that last: Self leadership in Mission’.

Each day was filled with Mass, prayer and worship with a message for us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. Following the gentle yet challenging talk by Sr Miriam James Heidland, a beautiful time of Adoration and Benediction allowed a personal encounter with Christ himself. The power of the Spirit was tangible as Bishop John Keenan, Bishop of Paisley blessed each section of the Auditorium filled with people in Benediction. 

You can watch the final session of the Catholic Parish Summit here

Next steps for attendees