Northern Scripture Festival in York, 12th May 2018
Some 125 participants from most of the Catholic dioceses in northern England enjoyed workshops, prayer, art and more as part of a packed programme at the Scripture Festival in York.
“Joy: the Surprise of the Gospel” took place at All Saints School and explored creative ways to raise the profile of the Scriptures.
The theme of Joy was chosen to reflect the time of Pentecost as well as the message of Pope Francis in his encyclical The Joy of the Gospel.
The event aimed to help participants develop ways of applying Scripture to their lives and enable them to be a catalyst for further engagement with the Bible.
The keynote speaker was Father Eamonn Mulcahy, a Spiritan missionary, who has led retreats for priests, religious, and lay-people all around the world.
The festival was organised collaboratively by diocesan advisers, members of religious orders, and the Scripture Working Group of
the Catholic Bishops’ Conference.
Deacon Vince Purcell, Adult Formation Advisor for the Diocese of Middlesbrough said: “After the event, Bishop Terry Drainey told me that all those who came seemed eager to be fed - and that there was plenty to feed them! It was a wonderful day and I’d like to thank all the organisers and the school for allowing us to use their facilities.”
Northern Scripture Festival – Salford – 6th October 2018
The second Northern Scripture Festival on the theme ‘Joy – the Surprise of the Gospel’ took place at Salford Cathedral and Cathedral Centre on Saturday 6th October 2018.
There were two keynote speakers.
Fr Kieran O’Mahony OSA is co-ordinator of Biblical Studies for the Archdiocese of Dublin. He spoke on ‘Joy in Believing’, looking at the many expressions of joy and happiness in the New Testament and particularly in St Paul’s Letter to the Philippians. The text of his talk and the slides that accompanied it can be viewed and downloaded on the festival website www.scripturefestival.org
Dr Dominika Kurek-Chomycz is Senior Lecturer is New Testament Studies at Liverpool Hope University. Her talk centred on the role of women and couples in the New Testament, particularly in the Acts of the Apostles.
The keynote talks were interspersed with workshop periods on a wide range of topics connected with Scripture. Participants could choose three workshops over the course of the day. Workshops were led by Bishop John Arnold, Steve Atherton, Christine Dodd, David Ford, Timothy Swinglehurst, Chris Thomas and Michael Winstanley.
Twenty prayer stations on biblical themes were set up in the cathedral and were available for quiet time for participants and for other users of the cathedral.
The day concluded with a closing liturgy in the cathedral led by Bishop John. It included a song and refrain specially composed for the day and the reading of the winning entry in a poetry competition on the festival theme, ‘Joy – the Surprise of the Gospel.’
The Scripture Festival was much appreciated by those who took part. People said that they enjoyed the day and learned a lot. Many asked when and where it would happen again.
The venue worked very well. The Cathedral Centre, with its varied facilities, provided rooms for talks to larger groups and for smaller workshop sessions. The foyer and café areas were good public spaces for chatting and meeting. There were several displays and resources available in the foyer and the Cathedral Bookshop was open throughout the day. Being able to move to the cathedral for the closing liturgy made the ending both celebratory and special.
The organisers of the Northern Scripture Festival are very grateful to all who supported the event. We want to thank the trustees of the Diocese of Salford for providing the venue and diocesan and cathedral staff for the generous help and support they gave throughout the planning process and on the day. We also want to thank all the religious orders and others who provided financial support. This meant that, for a token cost to participants, we were able to engage first class speakers and provide an enjoyable and memorable yet challenging experience of the joy and surprise of the Gospel.