The Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Catholic Life Congress, a fall tradition for many years, is special this year in that it will be held Saturday, Nov. 1, the Feast of All Saints.

“Our theme is ‘A New Pentecost for a New Evangelization’ and we will have all the saints interceding that this will happen,” said Meghan Cokeley, the director of the archdiocesan Office for the New Evangelization.

The Congress, which will be held at the Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown Hotel at 17th and Race Streets, will begin with an opening 9 a.m. Mass celebrated by Archbishop Charles Chaput across the street at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul.

The rest of the day will be taken up by keynote addresses and breakout sessions in English and Spanish at the hotel and a final Taize prayer service led by Bishop John McIntyre, who has oversight of the archdiocesan Secretariat for Evangelization.


When one speaks of the New Evangelization, it begs the question, how does it differ from the evangelization practiced by the church for the past 2,000 years?

“The newness of it is the church is recognizing the human race has really entered a time in history when we are grappling with issues that were never seen before in history,” Cokeley said.

Traditionally the Congress, which attracts 800-1,000 participants, is mostly composed of parish workers and volunteers in the area of religious education. Also, an annual update credit is granted to parish catechists and Catholic school teachers who participate in the Congress. This year all Catholics of every age and occupation are invited to attend.

“It is an Evangelization Conference and we are hoping to reach the broader Catholic population — the parishioners in the pews,” Cokeley said. “We are hoping to revitalize their faith and issue to them this call to the New Evangelization.”

There will be morning and afternoon keynote speakers in both languages. Scheduled as English keynote speakers are Curtis Martin, president of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) and Father Robert Spitzer, president of the Irvine, California-based Magis Center of Reason and Faith.

Spanish keynoters will be Mother Adela Galindo, foundress of the Miami-based Servants of the Pierced Heart of Mary and Jesus, and Msgr. Eduardo Chavez, who was postulator for the cause of St. Juan Diego and is a canon of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico City.

Scheduled breakout session speakers include Gloria Purvis, Father Timothy Gallagher, O.M.V., Dr. Jeanne Schindler, Msgr. Sanchez and Father Spitzer.

Cost for the Congress is $65 per person or 10 people for $550; clergy or religious are $30 per person. Registration is open through Friday, Oct. 24.


For more information visit the website or call 215-587-0500.