Circle November 9 on your calendar. There will be a spiritual double header at the Pennsylvania Convention Center that is expected to attract perhaps 3,000 participants from around the country and locally.

On that day the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the Magnificat Foundation will host a day-long celebration, Magnificat Day, at the center. This happens to be the same date originally selected for Philadelphia’s annual Catholic Life Congress, which brings together catechists from through the area.

Because of the concurrence of the two events, the Catholic Life Congress will be folded into Magnificat Day.

Magnificat Day is a national event that last year was successfully inaugurated at the Crystal Cathedral in Orange, Calif.

The Magnificat Foundation is the publisher of the award-winning and very popular monthly magazine Magnificat. Established in 1998, it supplies daily spiritual exercises centered on the Eucharist, the Liturgy of the Hours and the Lectionary readings for the Mass, as well as daily meditations, profiles of saints, blessings, hymns and sacred art.

Originally a French publication, it now includes English and Spanish, German and Lithuanian editions. If nothing else, the English edition, with more than 250,000 subscribers, proves that Catholic spirituality is alive and well in America.

“Magnificat Days are designed to bring people from everywhere together, to afford opportunities for direct personal renewal and to expose them to the best of Catholic life and practice,” said Pierre-Marie Dumont, president of the Magnificat Foundation. “So, on November 9, we will share common liturgical prayer, enjoy the opportunity for the sacrament of reconciliation, hear outstanding presentations by leading Catholic speakers, listen to concert performances of sacred music and discover many other remarkable Catholic events.”

“Magnificat Day 2013 gives us a unique opportunity to assemble as believers in the saving Mystery of Christ,” said Father Gerald Dennis Gill, director of the archdiocesan Office for Divine Worship.

“The day promises to refresh and renew those who participate to give greater witness to the faith that has been handed on to us and is our privilege to share with others.”

Although the schedule for the day is still tentative, it is expected to begin with a 7:45 a.m. Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul.

Following the 9 a.m. opening at the Convention Center there will be Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

The opening speaker for Magnificat Day will be Father Robert Barron, rector of Mundelein Seminary in Chicago and author and narrator of “Catholicism,” an acclaimed documentary series on Catholic faith that aired recently on PBS.

Also speaking will be Dominican Father John Cameron, the editor-in-chief of Magnificat and chairman of the Department of Homiletics at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Dunwoodie, N.Y.

Catholic Life Congress speakers include Marlon De La Torre, director of Catechist Formation and Children’s Catechesis for the Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas, presenting in Spanish, and Dr. Jessica Murdoch, professor of Theology at Villanova University.

Although separate events are listed for Magnificat Day and the Congress, participants are free to join an event sponsored by either group, Father Gill explained.

As usual catechists and teachers of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia will be granted one elective or annual update credit for their participation in the day’s events.

Throughout the day there will be opportunities for confession, eucharistic adoration and other special events, for example veneration of relics of Blessed Louis and Blessed Zelie Martin, the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux.

Later, the relics will be venerated at the Cathedral and ultimately be presented to the Carmelite Monastery on Old York Road, Philadelphia, for future veneration.

The day is expected to end with a candle-light eucharistic procession from the Convention Center to the Cathedral, where an outdoor benediction of the Blessed Sacrament will be conducted on the Cathedral steps.

For more information on Magnificat Day see


Lou Baldwin is a freelance writer in Philadelphia.