The Parish Twinning Program of the Americas (PTPA) will host its 2018 National Conference and 40th Anniversary Celebration, Aug. 24-26 in Nashville at the Diocese of Nashville Catholic Pastoral Center and The Inn at Opryland Hotel. Individuals from Catholic parishes across the country are invited and encouraged to participate.
The theme of the conference is “One Are We … The Blessings of Twinning.” Participants will have the opportunity to share information and learn about best practices for building spiritually enriching twinning relationships with impoverished parishes in Haiti and Latin America.
Headquartered in Nashville, PTPA’s mission is to establish long-term twinning relationships between Catholic parishes in the U.S. and parishes in Haiti and Latin America. To date, PTPA has formed 350 twinning relationships.
The conference will feature the following inspirational keynote speakers:
- Haitian-American Bishop Guy Sansaricq, retired auxiliary bishop of Brooklyn, NY, member of the USCCB Haiti Advisory Group and Director Emeritus of the National Center of the Haitian Apostolate, will speak about “Serving the Spiritual Needs of God’s People” in Haiti and Latin America.
- Nationally-known speaker Raymond East, pastor of St. Teresa of Avila Parish in Washington, D.C., which is twinned with an impoverished parish in Haiti, will talk about “The Blessings of Twinning.”
- Deacon Gerry Keenan, President of Zanmi Sasye-Partners with Sassier, will share the “Seven Principles” of faith-filled twinning relationships,
- An inspirational panel discussion, entitled “Understanding and Living Our Mission,” will include Julie Lupien, Director of Mission to Mission and recipient of Pope Francis Mission Award from U.S. Catholic Mission Association, and Rich Gosser, Executive Director of Rich in Mercy Institute.
- Brian Concannon, Executive Director of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, will speak about “Building Sustainability and Prosperity through Justice.”
- Kim Lamberty, Director of University and Mission Engagement for Catholic Relief Services, will speak about “Changing the Way We Care – Support for Family-based Systems and Structures for Vulnerable Children.”
In describing the significance of the conference, keynote speaker Bishop Guy Sansaricq said, “This conference for the 40th anniversary of the Parish Twinning Program highlights the universal mission of the Church. Jesus told his apostles to go to the end of the world. Love knows no borders. Peoples of every language and tongue, nationality and race make up God’s kingdom! The generous and enthusiastic spirit that radiates from the Parish Twinning Program is a sure sign that the Gospel of Jesus is still impacting lives in this twenty-first century and that the U.S. of America is still home to many followers of Jesus.”
In addition, the conference will offer ten “Best Practices” workshops on key topics related to twinning relationships, including microfinance and economic development, agriculture, clean water, medical and dental missions, technology, education and sustainable business opportunities.
Participants will also celebrate PTPA’s 40th Anniversary at a special dinner event honoring the organization’s founder and executive director Theresa Patterson. After making her first trip to Haiti in 1978, Patterson was inspired to start an organization to work with U.S. Catholic parishes and facilitate twinning relationships to support impoverished Catholic communities in Haiti. Fondly known as the “Mother Theresa of Haiti,” Patterson has traveled to Haiti 120 times and is well-known and respected by the country’s Catholic clergy. In 1998, PTPA expanded its mission to facilitate twinnings with poor communities in Latin America. The organization has formed more than 350 twinnings over the last 40 years. Its mission remains vital today, as more than 100 parishes in Haiti and Latin America are currently seeking twinning relationships with U.S. parishes through PTPA.
“We strongly encourage Catholic parishes to consider sending representatives to our conference,” Patterson said. “The program is equally relevant to long-term twinnings and parishes considering twinning relationships. The conference is a unique opportunity to network, share faith experiences and learn from one another.”
The conference program will be held at the Catholic Pastoral Center of the Diocese of Nashville. The 40th Anniversary Celebration will be held at The Inn at Opryland. These two facilities are conveniently located within a mile of one another. A special conference rate for lodging is available at The Inn at Opryland.
People interested in attending the conference can get more information or register online at www.parishprogram.org. The cost of early registration prior to July 1 is $225 which includes the 40th Anniversary reception and dinner on the evening of August 25. Additional information can be obtained by calling PTPA at 615-298-3002.