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Enxomil (Portugal) -- Pastoral conference for priests

Enxomil, a retreat center entrusted to the Prelature of Opus Dei, a few miles from Oporto, hosted the twelfth Pastoral Conference for Priests on April 14th. The topic was “St. Paul and the New Evangelization,” appropriate for the approaching Pauline Year announced by Pope Benedict XVI. The Bishop of Oporto, Manuel Clemente, and his auxiliary bishop, Antonio Taipa, took part along with some 150 priests from many dioceses of Portugal.

In the morning, Bishop Antonio Couto, auxiliary of Braga, spoke about St. Paul as “the model evangelizer.” Using the Apostle's writings, he described the characteristics of authentic evangelization: fidelity to Christ, love for each person, trust in one’s collaborators.

After lunch and some moments of relaxing conversations in the garden, Fr. Hugo dos Santos, chaplain of the Catholic University of Lisbon, spoke about his meetings with the Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew II, and stressed that personal friendship is also an important factor in ecumenism.

In the afternoon, Professor Fr. Francisco Varo gave a conference entitled “The First Christians, Inspiration and Paradigm for the New Evangelization.” Fr. Varo described how our Lord carried out the first evangelization and how the apostles and the first Christians always tried to spread the Gospel taking into account the way Christ acted.

The Conference was closed by Bishop Manuel Clemente of Oporto, who stressed the challenge of the new evangelization to which all Catholics are called. The Regional Vicar of the Opus Dei Prelature in Portugal, Msgr. José Rafael Espirito Santo, thanked the priests present for their participation in the conference and encouraged them to maintain an optimistic and trusting vision in the face of the pastoral challenges of our day and age.

Romana, No. 46, January-June 2008, p. 144-145.