By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
To celebrate the Year of Mercy, the Diocese of Davenport will host a “Mercy in Motion” conference July 30 on the St. Ambrose University campus.
Marianne Agnoli, marriage and family life coordinator for the diocese, said, “We wanted to celebrate the Year of Mercy in a broad and practical way. Throughout the diocese there exists a wealth of knowledge and experience in those serving as ministers of mercy. This conference will provide an opportunity for these ministers to connect and share their expertise with one another.”
The diocese hopes to bring together clergy and laypersons interested in a wide variety of ministries. Agnoli says the conference aims to help those attending deepen their understanding of God’s mercy and to draw on the rich experience of their fellow church ministers engaged in ministries of mercy in their parishes and the greater community.
“Mercy in Motion captures how being mindful of mercy, in turn, elicits a response,” said Kent Ferris, the diocese’s director of Social Action. “God created us, we admit our sinfulness and he is in turn merciful. And having been recipients of God’s mercy, we are compelled to do likewise with our brothers and sisters, in word and deed. The action, or ‘works,’ is where the motion becomes visible.”
Conference keynote speaker will be Tom East. He is director of the Center for Ministry Development, project coordinator for youth ministry services and coordinator of the certificate program in youth ministry. He serves as editor and author for “Leadership for Catholic Youth Ministry” and other publications and was the 2006 recipient of the National Catholic Youth Ministry Award for national leadership. Agnoli said she heard East speak during an online conference titled “Growing Hearts of Mercy” in December. “The conference was about the heart of mercy and living out mercy through reconciliation, solidarity, and service.”
A ministry fair with representatives from numerous local organizations and parish programs is another component of the diocesan conference. Attendees will be able to participate in breakout sessions focused on how to develop and maintain ministries of mercy in their parishes and how to be involved as “merciful ministers” with organizations or ministries that implement works of mercy in the community.
Some of the speakers for breakout sessions, music ministry and ministry fair tables have not been finalized but a Mercy in Motion page has been added to the diocesan website at http://tinyurl.com/zuq6bl5.
The page will be updated. Some of the proposed breakout topics include grief ministry, same-sex attraction (Courage/Encourage programs), divorce support, ministry to those with special needs, ministry to the sick and dying, supporting alternatives to incarceration, support for troubled marriages, and parish nurse program.
St. Ambrose University was chosen as the conference site because it is climate controlled, has space for keynotes, classrooms for break-out sessions, a large open space for a ministry fair and a chapel for the closing liturgy. Agnoli also pointed out that St. Ambrose is about a mile from Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport where some participants may wish to conclude the day by making a pilgrimage to the diocesan Door of Mercy site.
If you have questions or are interested in providing information on a specific ministry of mercy and would like to reserve a table at the ministry fair, contact Agnoli at firstname.lastname@example.org or (563) 888-4242.