The fourth New Evangelization Summit (NES) April 27-28 has expanded to include sites in Australia and the United Kingdom receiving content from the Ottawa main venue.
The annual summit again featuring eight top-notch Catholic speakers, including George Weigel, Sr. Ann Shields and Patrick Madrid, beams the talks live via satellite to more than 40 host locations. Last year, for the first time, the Summit included a host site in Zona, Guatemala.
“We wanted to begin to expand beyond North America,” said NES organizer and speaker Michael Dopp of Mission of the Redeemer Ministries. “We’re happy to have these new countries and new continents.”
In addition to keeping the Guatemala site, there are two locations in the UK, including London, and two in Australia, including Sydney.
Another change at summit this year is more time for small group discussion, Dopp said. “This is something a lot of our participants are asking for. With so much content and diversity of speakers, by the end of the day, they’re excited and tired, but they haven’t been given a chance to process it.”
On the Friday night, there will be 15 minutes to get some of the people around you, Dopp said. On Saturday, there will be an opportunity to break into small groups. They will have some discussions questions so they can “talk about what they’ve heard, what they’re thinking, what’s burning in their heart and how the Spirit is moving them.”
Dopp said including more time for small group discussions he hopes will make participation more active, with more engagement. Eventually, prayer ministry, even opportunities for Confession might become part of the Summit experience, but not this year. “Those are the sorts of things that might enhance the whole experience.”
While the summit is modeled after the American evangelical Global Leadership Summit, it does so on a much smaller scale. Both summits feature speakers at a main location and satellite sites, but the Global Leadership Summit might have 15,000 at its main site to 400-500 at the main site in Ottawa, Dopp said, noting being smaller allows the NES more flexibility for the small group discussions and eventually perhaps personal ministry opportunities.
“Every year, I look at the line up and marvel at it,” Dopp said. “This year, even more than the other years in terms the caliber of the speakers. They are all excellent speakers. Any one of them could headline a conference.”
The summit starts off with Father Mark Goring, a Companions of the Cross priest from the Ottawa Valley who heads the Catholic Charismatic Centre in Houston, Texas.
“He’s one of the best preachers of the Gospel that I’ve heard, very engaging and energetic, but it’s not just fluff to get people excited,” Dopp said.
Following Father Goring will be George Weigel, a well-known author and speaker who wrote Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II.
“Weigel will be speaking on St. John Paul II’s vision of new evangelization,” said Dopp. “There are very few writers, journalists and thinkers who have had more access to Pope John Paul II than he has. The next best thing to him would be George Weigel.”
“This year, a little bit more than the other years, the speakers themselves are real missionaries and evangelists themselves,” he said.
Other speakers include Sr. Ann Shields, an international speaker and author of several books including Deeper Conversion, To Be Like Jesus and More of the Holy Spirit. She also hosts a daily radio program Food for the Journey.
Patrick Madrid is a well-known radio host and author of 25 books that have sold over a million copies.
Curtis Martin, best-selling author of Made for More and founder of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) is also on the program.
Christy Dupuis who served as a missionary with Catholic Christian Outreach (CCO) and continues to serve in parish ministry and as a conference speaker, will be share her message, as will Dopp, who specializes in training up Catholics to evangelize.
And a highlight this year will be Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast who has paved the way not only for the summit, but for flourishing apostolates in his diocese bearing the fruit of new evangelization.