The Holy Land and its People

The Commission for Evangelisation and Formation offered two related Ecumenical Study Days when Sr Margaret Shepherd presented Milestones in Modern Jewish Catholic Relations in October of last year and Della Shenton DHS portrayed Jerusalem: the Spiritual Heart of the World this March. Both speakers shared their great passion and invited their respective audiences to reflect on these subjects in relationship with our Christian faith.

In October Sr Margaret, who is Secretary to the Committee for Catholic Jewish Relations for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, illustrated the growth and development of the dialogue between the Jewish and Catholic faiths.   Quoting the resources compiled by the Scarboro Missions Interfaith Department she pointed to the many encouraging encounters between Jews and Catholics since the end of the Second World War and to the emerging cooperation since Vatican II.   In the light of this true progress, she did not ignore the difficult times that preceded it or the challenges and responsibilities interfaith dialogue still faces. Crucially she reminded her audience that they too must embrace those challenges.

More recently Della Shenton also talked of shared responsibilities when she considered how we can move from three faiths in conflict to an “open door of prayer beyond the smoke of bombs and war”. (Pope Francis, August 2014) Describing herself as an “experienced pilgrim”, Della shared her extensive knowledge and experience of Jerusalem and the Holy Land. She spoke movingly about this very special part of the world and divided her talk into three parts: the Jewish, Christian and Muslim heritage of Jerusalem, through which she portrayed several thousand years of the Holy Land’s history.

Both speakers highlighted the significant roles played by recent Popes in promoting peace and understanding. While Sr Margaret showcased the historic visit by Pope Saint John Paul II to Israel in 2000 during which he prayed at Judaism’s holiest site, the Western Wall, Della finished her talk with Pope Francis’ joint prayer for peace which was said in the Vatican garden with the Israeli and Palestinian presidents after his visit to the Holy Land in 2014.

Listen to both these talks by clicking on the links below.

Sr Margaret Shepherd, Milestones in Modern Jewish Catholic Relations Part 1

Sr Margaret Shepherd, Milestones in Modern Jewish Catholic Relations Part 2

Sr Margaret Shepherd, Milestones in Modern Jewish Catholic Relations Part 3

Della Shenton DHS, Jerusalem: the Spiritual Heart of the World Part 1

Della Shenton DHS, Jerusalem: the Spiritual Heart of the World Part 2

Della Shenton DHS, Jerusalem: the Spiritual Heart of the World Part 3

The Commission for Evangelization and Formation in the Diocese of Brentwood is pleased to offer these Ecumenical Study Days. Read more about the study days and listen to more podcasts taken from them at What Good News Ecumenical Study Days.

The Joy of the Gospel: National Evangelisation Conference

Save the Date:  Saturday, 11 July 2015, Birmingham

‘The Joy of the Gospel: Building a Missionary Parish’ – A National Evangelisation Day Conference to be held in Birmingham.  Speakers to include Cardinal Vincent Nichols (Archbishop of Westminster), Archbishop Bernard Longley (Archbishop of Birmingham),
Michelle Moran (Pontifical Council for the Laity, The Vatican) and many more. A team of leading evangelisation workshop providers will energise and equip you and your parish to share the joy of the Gospel.

“I wish to encourage the Christian faithful to embark upon a new chapter of evangelisation marked by this joy, while pointing out new paths for the Church’s journey in years to come.”  Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium 1

“This pioneering day conference, inspired by Pope Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium, is for all clergy, religious and lay people. Why? Because we all share the one mission – to proclaim the joy of the Gospel. The wide range of practical ideas offered for planning and carrying out fruitful parish evangelisation will help us all to be better missionary disciples. Please put the date in your diary. I look forward to seeing you there.”  Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster

For more information go to: or telephone: 020 7 901 4816.  To register your interest in attending please email: gospeljoy [at] cbcew [dot] org [dot] uk.  (Please indicate of which diocese you are a member.)  Additional information will be made available soon.

‘The Joy of the Gospel’ initiative is being coordinated by the Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

Vatican II Talks


To mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council the Brentwood Commission for Evangelisation and Formation arranged a series of nine talks which illustrated the breadth of the work of the Council. The highly-experienced speakers offer a survey of the teaching of the Council and its impact. The talks are all available here:


Mgr George StokesThe Four Pillars of Vatican II
Mgr George Stokes, ex-diocesan Director of Education, explores the four Constitutions of Vatican II: on the Church, Revelation, the Liturgy, and the Church in the Modern World.

Scripture and Tradition Rev Dr Adrian Graffy
Rev Dr Adrian Graffy, scripture scholar, author and Director of the Commission for Evangelisation and Formation, talks on the teaching of Vatican II on the Bible.

Rev Dr David Chapman Ecumenism: an evaluation
Rev Dr David Chapman is heavily involved in ecumenical dialogue on behalf of the Methodist Church and discusses what the ecumenism promoted by Vatican II has achieved.

Mgr David MansonTowards Authentic Liturgy
Mgr David Manson, Vicar General, parish priest at Ingatestone and diocesan liturgist,considers Sacrosanctum Concilium and the development of the liturgy after Vatican II.