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Spiritual Retreat for Thousands This Weekend

15 April 2004

Media Release

Spiritual Retreat for Thousands This Weekend

Speakers and entertainers from the US, Canada, Australia, West Indies and India - and local speakers including Bishop Patrick Dunn - will participate in a spiritual retreat for up to 3,000 Catholics at the Eucharistic Convention.

The 11th annual Convention will be held 16-18 April in Auckland Showgrounds and will focus on the theme of "Forgiveness".

The speakers include:

Dame Jan Ruff-O'Herne, 81, from South Australia, may be one the most qualified people in the world to talk about forgiveness. In 1992, she broke 50 years of silence and testified to the world how she, like thousands of Korean women, had been forced into being a prison camp sex slave or "comfort woman" by the Japanese during World War II. "It was so difficult to speak of my experience. It was the hardest thing in my life to do, but I've been able to do something with it, and all that suffering has not been wasted. My suffering has given me the opportunity to speak, not only for the protection of women in war but of this beautiful faith that we've got and of forgiveness." She has told her story in a book, documentaries and current affairs programmes. She remains an active speaker and supporter of women.

http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/s208939.htm for transcript of ABC's 7.30 Report; http://www.abc.net.au/austory/archives/2001/AusStoryArchive2001Idx_Thursda y30August2001.htm for transcript of Australian Story episode;"

http://www.frif.com/new98/fiftyyr.html for information on the film "50 Years of Silence"

Janelle Reinhart, 23, (www.janelle.cc/NewDay.html#) made a huge impact at Toronto's World Youth Day in 2002, which attracted 800,000 young people. As an encore she was named Canada's Best New Artist of the Year by Vibe, which has been compared to the People's Choice Awards. Like a growing number of teens, Janelle at age 15 asked her parents for a Chastity ring - as a promise that she would remain a virgin until she married. Amazingly, despite a long courtship, she and her future husband Jason did not even share a kiss until their wedding. (High resolution photo of Janelle and Pope John Paul II available.)

Steve Clifford's great-great-great grandfather on his mother's side was probably the first in his family to become a Mormon in 1832 and Steve carried on the family tradition. He entered the Catholic Church in 1994 and has been exceptionally active in prison ministry.

Joseph C Moorman is a personable American with the brilliant operatic voice. Joseph has been a professional singer, including light opera and theatre, since 1985. He has cantored at St Peter's Basilica in Rome and recently sang at an American debut of Mel Gibson's movie "The Passion of the Christ."

Father Julian Studden helped Mother Teresa set up her first house for abandoned children in the Archdiocese of Hyderabad, India. He was asked to preach last October at the special public Mass in Hyderabad that coincided with Mother Teresa's Beatification Mass in Rome.

Father Al Winshman, SJ, from Boston, will speak at the Convention and then lead Missions in Auckland the two weeks afterwards. Fr Al entered the Jesuit novitiate on St Ignatius' feast day in 1952, right out of high school, and was ordained in 1965. He is an experienced retreat director and also preaches all over the world.

Father Linus Clovis from St Lucia, West Indies, is a dynamic speaker and courageous champion for life. He has a PhD in Mathematics, a Baccalaureate in Theology from the Angelicum and a Licentiate in Canon Law from the Urbaniana in Rome.

Father Paul Glynn, SM, was ordained an Australian Marist priest in 1955. He is an enormously gifted writer and speaker with a great love for God's suffering people, especially those in post-war Japan and more recently in the Third World. Early in his priesthood and following World War II, Fr Paul committed himself to a mission of reconciliation with the Japanese people. He spent 21 years there at Marist Missions. His books have raised nearly $1 million for the needy and suffering.

Free Youth Night

Saturday night at the 2004 Eucharistic Convention will be organised by the Auckland diocese's Youth Team, and expectations are that more than 1,000 young people will attend, attracted by a full programme featuring Janelle, MCs, dance, drama, spot prizes, a website launch, and a Catholic version of New Zealand Idol.

The Eucharistic Convention is the largest annual lay Catholic event, with over 22,000 people from all parts of New Zealand attending over the past 10 years. It is supported by Auckland Bishop Patrick Dunn, who is the Celebrant and Homilist at the Opening Mass on Friday night.

Tickets are: adult - $30; seniors/students $15; children 15 and under free.

For additional information please go to www.eucharistic-convention.com


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