Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Top bishop, actor who played Jesus coming to town for Catholic conference

There was a time when North Carolina was considered mission territory by the Roman Catholic Church.

Now so many Catholics call the state home that Charlotte is the host city this week for the Catholic Media Conference, a national gathering of about 250 reporters, bloggers and public relations professionals.

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., the newly elected president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, will open the conference Wednesday (June 18) with a keynote address.

Another highlight of the three-day conference at the Sheraton Charlotte Hotel: An appearance by actor Jim Caviezel, who portrayed Jesus in the box-office hit, "The Passion of the Christ." He'll be in Charlotte on Thursday (June 19) to screen his new film, "When the Game Stands Tall," for the Catholic group.

A sports drama that stresses character and family over winning, the film is about  Bob Lacouceur, who coached the high school De LaSalle Spartans in Concord, Calif., to 151 consecutive wins  -- 12 undefeated seasons. Set to hit theaters in August, it also stars Laura Dern and Michael Chiklis.

The conference will also hear from Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, who heads the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Social Communications and is in charge of Pope Francis' Twitter account, which now tops 13 million followers.

The June 18-20 meeting is co-sponsored by the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada and the Catholic Academy of Communication Professionals.

More details here.

-- Tim Funk