MARCH 20, 2020 — After much deliberation in the wake of rapidly changing and unprecedented circumstances surrounding the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership has made the extremely difficult decision to cancel its 2020 Convocation, originally scheduled for Dubuque, IA, May 17-21.
We understand what this event means to our members, exhibitors, presenters, sponsors, and all our many attendees. This was not a decision made lightly or without significant deliberation. But, in the face of increasing concerns and the guidance of governmental and health agencies, the decision was compelled and required. In the last week we learned:
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified COVID-19 a pandemic and repeated its call for comprehensive strategies to prevent infections, save lives, and minimize the virus’ impact.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued clear guidelines advising that community-based organizations cancel gatherings of more than 50 people for the next 8 weeks.
- The President declared a National State of Emergency.
- Travel Restrictions are placed on our attendees.
These are at the national and international level, but as you know, there are many more actions being taken at the state and local level to protect individuals and communities. In the end, these recommendations and actions, coupled with our concerns for attendees’ health and safety and the related travel restrictions imposed on many of our exhibitors and attendees, left us with no choice but to cancel the 2020 Convocation.
NCCL staff is beginning the hard work now of determining what alternatives we can offer in another format or at a different time. As our members have come to expect with NCCL, we are committed to delivering a quality alternative that ensures the work of the organization moves forward. Look for more information from us in coming weeks.
Please be patient as we develop reimbursement procedures and the many details that need to be addressed following this significant decision. We will keep you updated through email and the organization’s website and social media.
Meanwhile, attendees will need to cancel their own hotel and travel arrangements directly. Be sure to review the hotel’s cancellation policy to understand requirements and avoid penalties.
Again, we regret that we had to make this decision, but we greatly appreciate your concern and your support in the recent weeks. Our ministries have faced many changes and challenges in the past, and we will do so again, together, as we advance the invaluable mission of sharing the Gospel in new and imaginative ways.
As the Convocation Committee has invoked the Holy Spirit throughout their planning, and in the writing and reciting of the following prayer, let us continue to do so.
Come, Holy Spirit, Come. We invoke your name. Surround us with your presence and fill this space.
Come, Holy Spirit, Come. We thank you for those who have come before us, who have carried Your grace to us in so many ways and times.
Come, Holy Spirit, Come. Bless us with a contemplative center in our hearts to know You in the depths of our beings. Help us to cultivate an attitude of curiosity and imagination that recognizes the creative ways that the Spirit is at play.
Come, Holy Spirit, Come. Animate us to engage in respectful dialogue with one another to bridge our differences in joy and hope and to continue our walk together in Your company as companions.
Come, Holy Spirit, Come. Give us the grace to listen, for it is through listening that we can truly hear those things which will change us. Open us to the newness of what you are stirring in us and among us.
Come, Holy Spirit, Come. Pour in us the Spirit of Your love and service. Strengthen us for our catechetical ministry through which we share Jesus, our light and our love with all we serve.
Come, Holy Spirit, Come. Help us to see Mary as a model of faith. In the words of Pope Francis, we hear, ”Mary let herself be guided by the Spirit on the journey of faith towards service. Ask her to help us proclaim Jesus to all.”
Come, Holy Spirit, Come. Remind us to pray for each other and for all catechetical ministries. Bless us with joyful, compassionate hearts and help us share the Good News of Jesus Christ—our Light, and our All. Amen. (Sr. Deanna Sabetta, CND)
Yours in Christ,
President, Chair of the NCCL Board of Directors