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‘The gift of Hope’ at 2008 Eucharistic Convention

8 March 2008
Media release

‘The gift of Hope’ at 2008 Eucharistic Convention

Media headlines are beyond belief. Murders, home invasions, hijackings. It’s enough to make you weep. But, thankfully, there is an answer – the 15th Annual Eucharistic Convention, whose theme is ‘The Gift of Hope.’

The Catholic event will be held 28-30 March at Westlake Boys High School and will include daily Mass, holy hours and outstanding choirs. Brilliant speakers from the US and Australia will join kiwi speakers that include Bishop Patrick Dunn, Msgr Paul Cronin and Fr Rory Morrissey. International speakers include:
Father Raymond Gawronski, SJ - A native of New York City, Fr Gawronski entered the Society of Jesus in 1977. From 1979-81, he worked at a centre for street people in inner-city Washington. After much travel, he settled down as a Jesuit of the Maryland Province. Building on earlier graduate work in the religious traditions of Asia and of Eastern Christianity, he completed his doctorate at the Gregorian University in Rome.

For 13 years Fr Gawronski was on the faculty of Marquette University in Milwaukee, where he taught courses in Christian discipleship, mystical theology, world religions, eschatology, and the thoughts of Swiss theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar von Balthasar. He is now a professor and spiritual director at the St John Vianney Seminary in Denver. He also has done much work as a retreat director. His series The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius (DVD: Ignatius Press) has long been shown on Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), and led to his book A Closer Walk with Christ: a Personal Ignatian Retreat.
Father Chris Riley, AM - Father Riley, founder and CEO of Youth Off The Streets in Australia, has worked with disadvantaged youth for more than 30 years in a variety of roles including teacher, youth worker, probation officer, residential carer and principal.

Father Riley was inspired by the 1931 movie “Boys’ Town”, and at the age of 15 was determined to become a priest to take care of those kids who had no one else. He worked for the charity Boys’ Town in a variety of roles and finally as Principal. In 1991, he left Boys’ Town and began to set up a variety of programs for troubled youth. The programs are responsive to need and designed to help youth develop the skills and qualities that will them to regain control of their lives. As CEO of Youth Off The Streets, Father Riley oversees the operation of 20 programs that employ 150 people and involve more than 800 volunteers.

Father Paul Glynn, SM – He will launch his new book, “Tony Glynn: like a Samurai,” which honours his late brother, also a Marist. According to Australian media reports: “During his four decades in Japan, Tony Glynn made many friends and

helped establish aged-care centres and kindergartens. He also worked to reconcile the
former WW II enemies by bringing cultural displays to Australia and persuading Australian ex-soldiers to return the samurai swords captured during the war. Modest to the end of his life, Tony was awarded many honours, including the Order of Australia and Japan's Order of the Rising Sun, presented to him by the Emperor.”

Father Paul, an enormously gifted writer, reminds us that St Ignatius was at one time a faithless, wounded soldier. But after reading a single spiritual book, he went on to become a great saint. Father Paul’s books have raised nearly $1 million for the poor.

Cathy Jenke - Cathy is a well-known name in the Christian broadcasting arena. She left Rhema Broadcasting Group in 2007 after more than 20 years to join leading family-help group Focus on the Family (NZ). Her new role finds her keeping Focus on the Family (NZ) at the forefront of family issues in the media, and keeping families well-resourced for issues that affect them today. Focus on the Family has been nurturing and helping families around the world for 30 years, and has been working locally since 1999.

“The Eucharistic Convention is very special, and this fact is revealed year after year as hurts are healed, reconciliations are made and conversions are experienced. The Holy Spirit moves in a very powerful way at these Conventions and touches those in a special way who have courage enough to at least poke their head in the door. It is humbling to witness and in actual fact quite amazing,” says Organiser John Porteous.


Venue: Westlake Boys High School
30 Forrest Hill Road
North Shore

Cost: Adult tickets $40; Student/Senior Citizens $20 on the day or available online at

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