Faith Matters

Exploring faith's relevance to everyday life

The Down and Connor Faith and Life Convention takes place on September 26 2015

THE Diocese of Down and Connor will be holding its second annual Faith and Life Convention in September, with Jesuit Fr Brendan Comerford scheduled to be the keynote speaker.

The convention is a forum for people across the diocese - and beyond - to gather to take part in a range of conversations - including a choice of 20 workshops - about the meaning of faith and its relevance to our everyday lives.

Fr Comerford will speak on the theme 'What hope for faith?'. He has a keen interest in understanding the culture within which Christians are called to hear the Gospel and follow Christ.

Fr Comerford joined the Society of Jesus in 1980 and was ordained a priest in 1988. He has been at various times a teacher of Irish and English Literature and a Jesuit Novice Master.

Most recently he has lived in Dublin where he has served on the staff of the Centre of Spirituality at Manresa House and has lectured in the Milltown Institute.

His postgraduate studies were in Spirituality and he has a special interest in the lives of the Mystics, a theme about which he has written and lectured widely in recent years.

The workshops will explore topics such as the beginning of life, the pastoral response to suicide, sectarianism and reconciliation, the relationship between faith and the media, ecology, youth ministry, family prayer in a changing world and the issues facing Northern Ireland in the upcoming referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union.

They will be led by contributors including: Baroness Nuala O'Loan; Rev Caroline McAfee, senior chaplain with the NI Hospice; Maria Garvey, founder of the L'Arche community in Belfast; Fr Brendan McManus SJ; Dr Johnston McMaster of the Irish School of Ecumenics; Derek Poole, director of the LINC - the Local Initiative for Needy Communities - reconciliation project; Pat Coyle, Jesuit director of communications; Fr Timothy Bartlett; newspaper columnist Breda O'Brien; and Gerry Loughran, a former head of the Civil Service and secretary to the executive.

:: The Down and Connor annual Faith and Life Convention starts at 10am on Saturday September 26 and will be held at Our Lady and St Patrick's College in Knock, Belfast. More information at

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