Thursday, 18 September 2014

Report: Catholic Identity Conference 2014

For the third consecutive year, the Catholic Identity Conference was held in Weirton, West Virginia, to bring together a broad array of tradition minded Catholics to worship in the Traditional Roman Rite and to share ideas on current issues in the Church.  What follows is a brief report on this year's conference, held 12-14 September.

On Friday, 12 September 2014, Canon Jean-Marie Moreau of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest offered a Solemn High Mass for the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary at St. Peter Church in Steubenville, Ohio, to open the Catholic Identity Conference 2014.  Canon Moreau preached on the meaning of the name of Mary and of its power, referencing the lifting of the Siege of Vienna in 1683.

St. Peter Church, in the Diocese of Steubenville, Ohio, just across the Ohio River from Weirton, West Virginia, offers the Traditional Mass every Sunday, however, this was the first Solemn High Mass to be offered at St. Peter's in the age of Summorum Pontificum.  In addition to conference participants, who hailed from as far away as Oregon and Maine, Michigan and Mississippi, the opening Mass was attended by a number of local parishioners.

After Mass, at a hotel in Weirton, Dr. John Rao, of the Roman Forum, set the theme for the conference with a talk examining the strengths and weaknesses of the "Old Evangelization" with an emphasis on personalism, and the problems it created, and continues to create, in the Church.

St. Peter Church
Steubenville, Ohio
The second day of the Conference began with a Low Mass, again offered by Canon Moreau, at Sacred Heart of Mary Church in Weirton, West Virginia.  This church, originally a Polish parish and built in 1967, had never had the Traditional Mass offered on its altar until the first Catholic Identity Conference held in 2012.

After Mass, there was a full day of conference speakers who examined various aspects of both the Old and New Evangelization.  All of the talks were well presented and very informative.  Audio CD's of the conference talks are available for purchase online.  The day culminated with a dinner, at which Fr. Gregory Pendergraft, of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter, gave the keynote address.

The conference concluded on Sunday, Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, after a High Mass offered by Fr. Ladis J. Cizik, a priest of the Diocese of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at Sacred Heart of Mary Church in Weirton.  Fr. Cizik preached on the centrality of the sign of the cross to the Catholic faith and in the Traditional Mass.  He also blessed the congregation with a relic of the True Cross.

One of the primary objectives of the Conference organizer, Mr. M. Eric Frankovitch, an attorney in Weirton, was to bring together the various strands of Traditionalism, that sometimes seem to be at odds with one another.  In that regard, this year's Conference boasted an impressive array of participants and attendees that included both ordained and lay members and adherents to the following organizations: the Society of Saint Pius X; the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter; the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest; the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate; the Fatima Center; the Knights of Columbus; Juventutem; diocesan clergy from four dioceses; prominent Catholic academics, journalists, and bloggers, as well as parishioners from parishes and chapels of the various traditional orders and diocesan Latin Mass communities.

This was accomplished both in the formal conference talks, and in the informal social gatherings after the conference sessions.  Participants were able to talk with each other, share ideas, and express opinions about the current situation in the Church and in the world.  Needless to say, there was a wide spectrum of ideas, and not everyone agreed with everyone else, but, they all believed in the teachings of the Church on faith and morals, and were willing to listen to other viewpoints regarding problems, potential solutions, and policy.  There was no attempt to silence or marginalize people who have legitimate concerns and who are trying to seek solutions.

Many participants, who had attended previous Catholic Identity Conferences, commented that this was the best Conference to date, and looked forward to building on the contacts and relationships forged at this year's meeting.

Additional photos of the conference, and a brief summary of each of the conference talks, can be found here.

Knights of Columbus Latin Mass

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