Thousands to join in for “Mary First Disciple” eConference

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Media Release – Friday, May 14, 2010

Thousands of people across Australia and around the world will tune in on Tuesday for the rare opportunity to hear from one of the world’s leading Scripture scholars, Professor Francis J. Moloney who will be key presenter for the “Mary First Disciple” eConference.

The third eConference to be presented by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and the Broken Bay Institute, “Mary First Disciple” has proven popular, with 300 sites already registered to take part in the webcast, up from 200 sites for the last eConference on Luke.

Fr Moloney is a Melbourne based Salesian priest, who is currently serving as the Order’s Provincial. He has an Oxford Doctorate in Philosophy and for many years was Professor of New Testament at the Catholic University of America in Washington DC. In 2001 he was elected President of the Catholic Biblical Association of America, and Pope John Paul II appointed him to the International Theological Commission to the Holy See.

Tuesday’s eConference will also feature a session from Australia’s Maronite Bishop, Bishop Ad Abikaram and Dr Margaret Ghosn MSHF on Mary in Eastern Iconography. Sr Vivienne Goldstein SM will also present a Gospel Reflection Group on the topic ‘Do Whatever He tells you’.

Among those registered to take part are groups in parishes, Benedictine Monasteries and Abbeys, busy hospitals, schools and universities, and a group in Sydney’s Long Bay Gaol.

Thirteen sites have been registered in New Zealand as well as sites in Fiji, Paris, Ghana, India, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Malta, Nigeria, Peru, the Philippines, Swaziland and the USA.

Bishop David Walker, a member of the Bishops Commission for Mission and Faith Formation, and in whose diocese the forum will be hosted, said the popularity of the eConferences was wonderful.

“I think it shows that people are hungry for really good quality adult faith formation and opportunities to come together as parish communities or workplace communities to reflect on the Gospel and to really allow the Gospel to have a living, active role in our daily lives,” Bishop Walker said.

Director of The Broken Bay Institute, Dr Gerard Goldman said feedback from the last eConference was overwhelmingly positive, with 95 per cent of people, saying they would participate again.

“The eConference concept has proven enormously popular and we are committed to continually exploring new and innovative ways to use the Web to gather people into this type of learning experience into the future,” Dr Goldman said.

For those who can’t take part in the “Mary First Disciple” eConference on Tuesday, the program will be archived on the web so that individuals or groups can access it at a time of their choosing on the eConference website at http://mary.vividas.com.

And, simply by registering to take part on Tuesday, participants go in the draw to win a trip to Rome for the canonisation of Blessed Mary MacKillop in October.  For more information on the eConference, contact Virginia Ryan at The BBI on 02 9847 0556 or email vryan@bbi.catholic.edu.au.