An internationally renowned speaker and author is to visit our diocese to deliver a study day focusing on how the message of Pope Francis can transform our parish lives.

It will be Bill Huebsch’s third visit in the past five years and those of you who were able to attend either of the previous events will know he is a very engaging and inspiring teacher.

The forthcoming study day in York is entitled “Pope Francis and his Vision for Parish Life” and is based on his most recent book, The Art of Accompaniment, which is published by Twenty-Third Publications.

Pope Francis has had a lot to say to the Church and the world over the past few years, but the one thing he has emphasised more than anything else is the urgent need for “pastoral accompaniment”.

This idea of accompaniment is a call to mercy and compassion in parish life and it has to involve each and every parishioner. All of us are called to accompany one another in faith, no matter whether we are priests, deacons, religious, catechists, teachers, members of a family or simply neighbours and friends.

And when we are able to accompany others with such mercy and compassion, we’ll discover that many who have felt edged out of the church may indeed find their way back into fuller participation.

Bill holds a Masters in Theological Studies from the Catholic Theological Union of Chicago. He has been a farmer, a writer, a diocesan administrator, a master catechist, a gardener, a college professor and a spiritual director. He is on the adjunct faculty at the Institute for Pastoral Studies at Loyola University Chicago.

In this pastoral workshop, Bill will help us to consider the principles and practices of accompaniment as they are presented by Pope Francis. He will also help us to develop a better understanding of what it means to be an active, missionary disciple in today’s Church.

The day will take place on Saturday October 28 at All Saints Lower School in York, which is located behind the Bar Convent. Some car parking spaces are available in the grounds but the school is also easy to reach from the train station (about ten minutes’ walk) and it is also well served by the Park and Ride system.

The cost of the event will be £12 per person – this includes tea and coffee but in order to keep costs as low as possible, you’re asked to bring a packed lunch.

To make a booking, please contact Jenny Dowson at the Curial Office on 01642 850505 or by emailing reception@dioceseofmiddlesbrough.co.uk.

Deacon Vince Purcell