(PRWEB) May 31, 2005
ÂYes, the Church is Alive!Â proclaimed Pope Benedict XVI during his first public Mass in St. PeterÂs Square:
Yes, the Church is alive Â this is the wonderful experience of these days. During those sad days of the PopeÂs illness and death, it became wonderfully evident to us that the Church is alive. And the Church is young. She holds within herself the future of the world and therefore shows each of us the way towards the future.
These words of the newly elected pope are not merely wishful thinking nor a limited phenomenon observed in St. PeterÂs Square during the funeral of Pope John Paul II and the announcement of the election of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger to the pontificate. According to the Pontifical Yearbook, there are currently 1.086 billion Catholics in the world and the Church continues to grow each year by 10 million worldwide. This number represents not only the baptism of children born into Catholic families, but also many converts to the Catholic Faith. In the United States alone, Catholic priests baptize between 70,000 and 75,000 adults every Easter Night.
Indeed, the Church is alive. It was to prove this fact that an international conference series, The Path to Rome, was begun in 1996. The vitality of the Catholic Church is evident not only by Her growing numbers, but also by the great luminaries who are joining and embracing the Catholic Church wholeheartedly.
The 2005 Path to Rome Conference will take place in England this November, where three bishops and over 500 Anglican priests have become Roman Catholic. Thousands of faithful from the Church of England have followed their pastors to the Catholic fold in search of an anchor in a society that has moved away from the moral precepts that are the foundation of a Christian culture. Even amidst growing militant secularism, it is evident that ÂRomeÂ is becoming recognized more and more as the leading light of Christianity around the world.
Featured converts at this yearÂs conference include Rt. Rev. and Rt. Hon. Msgr. Graham Douglas Leonard, former Anglican Bishop of London, and highest ranking Anglican prelate to become a Catholic; Rt. Hon. John Gummer, member of British Parliament and Anglican convert; and Dwight Longenecker, Evangelical convert from England.
By attending the 2005 Path to Rome Conference this November, Catholics from around the world can give continued impetus to a growing movement in England. The number of Roman Catholics in England has risen to around 10 percent of the population. Many of the thousands who have come into the Catholic Church in England are now praying and working for the return of the British Isles to the Catholic Faith which was at one time the bedrock of British soil. Non-Catholics are invited to participate in the Path to Rome Conference by rediscovering the continuity that exists between the Catholic Church and Western Culture both in Europe and in the Americas.
England was one of the few countries in the world to have representatives of church, state, and government at the funeral of Pope John Paul II. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, Prince Charles, and Prime Minister Tony Blair were in attendance. Days after the funeral of Pope John Paul II, Dr Rowan Williams became the first serving Archbishop of Canterbury to attend a papal inauguration since the Reformation. Pope Benedict XVI received him in a private audience on the day after the official beginning of his pontificate.
In his address given on April 1, 2005, at the Monastery of St. Scholastica, Subiaco, Italy, then Cardinal Ratzinger declared: ÂThat which we need above all in this moment of history are men who, by means of an illumined and lived faith, render God credible in this world... We need men whose intellect is illuminated by the light of God and who open their hearts to Him, in a manner that their intellect can speak to the intellects of others, and their heart can open the hearts of others.Â
It is just such men that the Path to Rome Conference wishes to present for the edification of Catholics and non-Catholics alike. ÂThis is not an emotional conference with emphasis on feelingsÂ states one of the conference organizers. ÂThe faith of the speakers is not a faith of feelings but of grace profoundly based on the intellectual study of the history of the Church, of Her dogmas and of Her morals.Â
The conference will be held in London, England from November 12-13 and will include a tour of Catholic sites in both England and Ireland.
For more information call: 1-800-654-7945 or visit the website at http://www.pathtorome.com.