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Cardinal Raymond Burke at the Philadelphia cathedral on April 21, 2018 for a conference on matrimony LifeSiteNews

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania, March 6, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke will speak about every Christian’s call to holiness at a conference in Philadelphia on April 4, 2020

The famous cardinal will be joined by Bishop Joseph E. Strickland of the Diocese of Tyler, Texas and Father Dennis Gill, rector of the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. The conference will take place in the cathedral and will include Eucharistic adoration, the recitation of the rosary, a Marian procession, and the crowning of the National Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima.  

Entitled “You Are Called to Holiness,” the conference and day of recollection is being organized by the St. John Neumann Chapter of Catholics United for the Faith. 

“We decided on this theme as a way to encourage Catholics in this unusual period in the Church,” Fr. Gill told LifeSiteNews.   

“There is a great deal of confusion, concern, and the ever present sense of crisis,” he continued.  

“The one thing that we can do now and all the time is recall our relationship with Christ and with one another in the Church.”

Gill characterized the Christian life as “a holy life, a life that imitates the Savior and has been lived through the centuries.”  

“It is our prayer that the conference will compel those who attend to be enthused and vigilant about the call to holiness,” he concluded.

Organizer Anne Wilson told LifeSiteNews that the theme was chosen “unanimously” by the conference committee.

“We felt this was something all of us need to pursue in our lives to gain eternal salvation,” she explained.  

Wilson added that the conference will follow the same format as 2018’s very successful Conference on Matrimony, a mixture of prayer and reflection on the talks by the speakers. Attendees came from 14 states, and Wilson reported that many people said “how beautiful [the conference] was and that, in some cases, it was a life changing event.” 

Burke and Gill both spoke at that conference; this is a first appearance for Bishop Strickland. 

Participants will attend the parish’s regular Palm Sunday Mass as part of the conference, and visiting priests are invited to concelebrate. 

“The liturgy will be beautiful as Father Dennis Gill, the Rector and Pastor of the Cathedral will guarantee it,” Wilson promised.   

She described the St. John Neumann Chapter as a local group consisting of members of the international Catholics United for the Faith organization. This was formed in 1968 in response to the Second Vatican Council’s call to the laity for interior spiritual renewal. 

“It was started in New York by H. Lyman Stebbins to ‘Support, Defend and Advance the Efforts of the Teaching Church,’” Wilson said.   

“The organization has remained committed to these goals and has [chapters] both here in this country and abroad,” she continued. 

“We also authored the Faith and Life Catechetical Series for school children. Our local chapter started in 1977 and we have done over 21 spiritual conferences, dozens of days and evenings of recollection, Bible studies, apologetics courses, and dinners with outstanding Catholic speakers.” 

Catholics United for the Faith has also taken part in pro-life activities.

Cardinal Burke is one of the most well-known and beloved defenders of the pro-life cause and Catholic orthodoxy. The American cardinal was previously the Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, essentially the Church’s supreme court.

Burke joined three other cardinals in writing a dubia, or formal request, to Pope Francis asking whether Amoris Laetitia is aligned with Catholic morality. The pontiff has yet to respond. Since then, two of the dubia signers, Cardinals Joachim Meisner and Carlo Caffara, have died. Like Burke, the fourth signer, Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, 91, continues to defend doctrinal orthodoxy. 

Most recently, Burke has critiqued aspects of October’s Synod of Bishops for the Amazonian region, particularly its working document, or Instrumentum Laboris, which he said amounted to “apostasy.” 

Bishop Strickland has also been a strong voice for the perennial doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church. In February he gently stood up to bullies who accused him of “condemning” LGBT people by proclaiming the truth of Church teaching about marriage and sexuality. At the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ General Assembly last November, he offered fraternal correction to bishops who allow pro-LGBT speakers to challenge Church teaching in their dioceses. At the same conference, he defended the preeminence of the slaughter of the unborn among the social justice issues of our time. 

Strickland has also emerged from bishops’ meetings to pray the rosary with lay Catholics protesting the bishops’ role in the ongoing clerical sex abuse and cover-up crisis. During the 2018 USCCB General Assembly, Strickland left the hotel in which the bishops were gathered to join the 200 Catholics protesting the bishops’ role in the ongoing clerical sex abuse and cover-up crisis.

“I didn’t know if they were going to start yelling at me, or what,” he told LifeSiteNews. 

“But I went, holding my rosary, praying, [and they were] very quiet, people of the family of the Church.”  

To register for the “You are Called to Holiness” Conference, click HERE.