St Mary’s Catholic Church, Leyland, 4 February 2013
The Rt Rev Michael Campbell OSA, Bishop of Lancaster, has affirmed the need to seek ways of closing the gap between faith and culture at an evangelisation day for over 250 people from the North West dioceses on Saturday 2 February.
Speaking at a ‘Crossing the Threshold’ event for the dioceses of Lancaster, Liverpool and Salford, hosted by St Mary’s Church in Leyland, he said:
“The context which forms the background and has given rise to the concept of the New Evangelisation is the awareness of the rapidly changed and still changing world and society in which we live…
“We are all familiar with those changes and innovations that we now take for granted: the age of the internet, instant communications through the mobile phone, iphone, smart phone, Skype, etc; the ease of mobility and travel – everywhere is within reach nowadays – increased prosperity, by comparison to previous generations, and resulting materialism with the apparent absence of God. The remarkable advances in science and the field of medicine have given humanity a sense of autonomy, believing that everything is possible and all illnesses and problems can, or soon will be, cured. This leads to a general feeling that God doesn’t impinge on our lives, that the world really don’t need him, or his truth revealed to us in Christ.”
“We need to recover and ‘recharge’ the content of religious language – concepts such as faith, grace, salvation and redemption. Can we address modern men and women in a language which appears relevant and makes sense to them? Pope Paul VI in his same Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Nuntiandi, also referred to the gap or chasm between the Gospel and culture as being one of the tragedies of the modern age.”
The resource day aimed to offer support and resources to help those gathered to reach out to and minister to non churchgoing Catholics. The programme included prayer, Mass and nine workshops covering: welcoming families, men’s ministries, how to run small groups, social action, listening, using RCIA, tips on creating an evangelising parish, how to use new media and outreach in schools.
The day ended with a commissioning which was led by Bishop Terence Brain of Salford. He invited everyone gathered to come forward to receive the sign of the cross on their foreheads.
Bishop Thomas Williams, Auxiliary Bishop of Liverpool, who gave the homily said:
“It was a good to get people from different dioceses together to compare good practice and to encourage and support each other in the mission of the Lord. I thought that the experience of the day was very encouraging and it was good to see so many people there.”
The day was the sixth in a series offered as part of a national tour, sponsored by the Bishops’ Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis, chaired by Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton. Events have previously been offered in York, Birmingham, Westminster, Crawley and Cardiff, involving over 1500 people, five archbishops and ten bishops.
Madonna Adams from St Joseph’s Parish in Seascale attended the day for the North West and said:
“What a wonderful opportunity it was to share our combined concerns. It was so helpful to know that, even if we feel isolated sometimes, we’re all dealing with similar issues and there may be similar solutions. The unity of the people gathered was a high point. There was so much energy, the organisation was great, some fabulous practical ideas were offered to support evangelisation, and I would love to come to another event!”
All the materials from the tour will now be collated, with partners, by the Bishops’ Home Mission Desk in preparation for the publication of an online national resource.
The full text of Bishop Michael Campbell’s address can be downloaded using the link to the right of this article.
You can listen to or download Bishop Williams’ homily by using the player and link in the top right-hand corner of this article.
Audio kindly provided by the Archdiocese of Liverpool.