28th OCTOBER 2017 A FUTURE FULL OF HOPE - St Brendan’s College Bristol

98% of the parishes of the Diocese, together with schools and university chaplaincies were represented at this meeting called by Bishop Declan. Fr Jean-Patrice, Terry and Madeleine Harvey and Henry and Luisella MacDonald attended for St Michael’s, South Petherton and Holy Ghost Yeovil.

The document ‘A Future Full of Hope’ is the outcome of the pastoral letter that Bishop Declan sent on New Year’s Day. It is our roadmap for the next three years guiding us in mission, prayer and communion. A further meeting in November will set out guidelines for the first year, for ‘mission’.

The 2nd Vatican Council document: ‘Gaudium et Spes’ is the starting point: ‘joy and hope’, grief and anguish, how to be fully human. The future of humanity lies in providing, to coming generations, reasons for living and for hope. Jeremiah (29:11-13): “I know well the plans I have made for you, plans for your welfare, not for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope.” Jesus came not to condemn the world, but to save it. All Catholics have to take responsibility, which is what the great commandment of Matthew (22:32-40) says.

The road map shows that we need to be sustained at parish level: by the parish pastoral councils. What do we need to experience, in order to make our imaginings come true? Mission, prayer, communion. The dominant features are the desire to be led, directed and shepherded by our bishop. Bishop Declan is calling us to be the people that Christ wants us to be, the Church that Christ calls us to be.

In June, at a meeting of all the priests of the diocese, these themes emerged: We must put first things first. We must return to the gospel. We must return to Christ. In 2013, Pope Francis wrote the pastoral letter Evangelii Gaudium because a central programme of his pontificate is a new chapter of evangelisation. The Pope says “I dream of a missionary option: evangelisation and mission. We all mean different things by those words.

Evangelisation: what comes to mind? Mission: to give people the Gospel truth. Proclamation: we have to know the people among whom we live. The Gospel of Joy: Pope Francis is very inspired by Pope Paul VI, who wrote Evangelii Nuntiandi, the greatest pastoral document ever written” (Pope Francis). John Paul II says that Evangelii Nuntiandi is our Magna Carta.

Traditionally there have been three basic models for mission:

  1. Words: Billy Graham Evangelical/ Protestant churches. Preach the gospel.

  2. The “Catholic” way - evangelisation, missionaries, hospitals, schools. Preach the Gospel at

    all times, use words when necessary.

  3. The “Orthodox” model: Build a beautiful church. Create a sense of a holy place, draw people.

We actually need all three: preaching, teaching, prayer, liturgy, beauty. It is in everything the Church does that we attract others. Our three-year road map is: Mission (1st year), Prayer (2nd year), Communion (3rd year). In November, resources will be available to guide us through. This is how we are Church.

29th November: Join the Bishop at the start of Advent, so that the evangelisation can be new in Ardour, Methods, Expression. How were you evangelised? How can you be evangelised? Who inspired your faith? Who inspired you recently? “Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to all creation”.The “kerygma” is the verbal proclamation of the Gospel. Evangelii Gaudium: “Jesus Christ loves you. He gave His life to save you and now He is living at your side every day, to enlighten, strengthen and free you”. Feast of All Saints 1.11.17


       Sonia Mesarova writes