The Diocese of Palmerston North hosted ‘Let’s Pray’, a symposium on Prayer, Contemplation and Liturgy, from 11 – 13 August.
Palmerston North’s Catholic Bishop Peter Cullinane gave the opening address on Thursday with a presentation on Conversion, Contemplation and Compassion.
The keynote speakers were Dr Donna Orsuto (Professor at the Gregorian University in Rome), Stephen Kirk (Catholic composer, musician and worship leader), Joy Cowley (a writer for whom writing is a form of prayer) and Abbot Brian Keogh (Leader of Southern Star Abbey).
Dr Donna Orsuto delivered a presentation called ‘Rich Pathways into Spiritual Growth’ followed by Stephen Kirk's ‘Treasures Old and New: Finding New Ways to Pray in the Old Traditions’.
On the second day Abbot Brian Keogh spoke about work and prayer in the rhythm of daily life and Joy Cowley on prayer for all seasons.
Day Three concluded with Dr Donna Orsuto speaking on ‘Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary’ and Stephen Kirk on ‘A Primer on Prayer; A Transforming Relationship of Truth, Love and Mutual Self-giving’.
There were also four workshop sessions which included a variety of topics such as Contemplative prayer; Prayer in marriage and family life; “Your will be done” – praying in difficult times and prayer through journaling.
Each morning brought different prayer experiences as well as further opportunities in the evening with Taize prayer, Karanga ki te Karakia, Benediction and a closing Conference Mass.
During the symposium, a new book by Bishop Peter Cullinane was launched. It is called ‘Openings to Renewal’ and is written as a series of letters which open up opportunities for renewal or illustrate the ongoing need for it within the Catholic Church.