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Cardinal Wuerl tells St. Vincent conference attendees to bring others to Christ

| Monday, May 23, 2016, 11:00 p.m.
Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who served as bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh before becoming archbishop of Washington, D.C., gives the opening address at the Fred Rogers Center at the start of a a religious conference being held at St. Vincent College on Monday, May 23, 2016.
Evan R. Sanders | Tribune-Review
Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who served as bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh before becoming archbishop of Washington, D.C., gives the opening address at the Fred Rogers Center at the start of a a religious conference being held at St. Vincent College on Monday, May 23, 2016.

Echoing the charge of Pope Francis, Cardinal Donald Wuerl on Monday implored representatives of dozens of Roman Catholic colleges and universities gathered at St. Vincent College to go back to their schools and do the work of “the New Evangelization.”

“Go out. Go out and encounter and bring yourself and someone else closer to Christ,” Wuerl told the group at the Latrobe campus.

Wuerl, former bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh and now archbishop of Washington, D.C., was keynote speaker at the opening session of a two-day conference focusing on the work of evangelization in higher education.

While various seminars ranging from faith and science to campus ministry were slated as part of the conference, Wuerl focused on the popular pontiff's call to action for a renewal of the church.

Wuerl said an energized and active laity will be a critical element in bringing about cultural transformations in a world awash in secularism.

College campuses, full of young adults seeking answers to life's questions, are fertile ground for a church seeking to plant a message of Christ's love, he said. But, he stressed, the pope's insistence is that the message requires more than words.

“What our holy father is asking us to do is not just announce the word, but to be the word. ... Let people see in us the Gospel,” Wuerl said.

The conference will run through Wednesday.

Other keynote speakers include Carolyn Woo, president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services, and Bishop Robert Barron, auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles.

Debra Erdley is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-320-7996 or derdley@tribweb.com.

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