As parishes across England and Wales prepare to enter the most important time in the liturgical calendar Bishop Kieran Conry invites churchgoers to witness to their faith.
The Chair of the Bishops’ Conference Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis said: ‘During Holy Week and Easter we witness the climax of Jesus’s mission on earth – his triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday, his suffering and death on Good Friday and his resurrection on Easter Day . While it is important that the baptised accompany Jesus through these events by being present in church themselves, they should reflect that they are called to share what they see and know to be true with people who are not part of our faith community.
‘In Pope Paul VI’s Evangelii Nuntiandi we read: “The person who has been evangelised goes on to evangelise others. Here lies the test of truth, the touchstone of evangelisation: it is unthinkable that a person should accept the Word and give himself to the kingdom without becoming a person who bears witness to it and proclaims it in his turn.” (24) The word “unthinkable” is strong and it is timely to consider perhaps your response to this passage. You might, for example, decide to take two palms home this Sunday and display one in your front window or car, while giving another to a neighbour or friend. If you have to turn down a social invitation (or other engagement) this week because you’re going to church, gently and respectfully tell people what you’re doing and why. In this way you will set the seeds of faith where you live and work.’
Bishop Conry added: ‘The liturgy this week is rich and dramatic on every level and provides a wonderful opportunity for us to invite our neighbours and friends to experience it first hand – to see and hear the mystery of salvation for themselves. I encourage everyone to reflect on the power of the liturgy as a tool of Home Mission, to have confidence in it and to invite one person to come with you to any of the Holy Week and Easter services. It doesn’t matter if they don’t understand everything that they will see and hear initially. The Spirit of God will speak directly to their hearts. By issuing invitations you are called to play your part in signposting people to a potentially life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ. Say a pray to the Holy Spirit, ask for the gift of courage, take a step and the Holy Spirit will do the rest.’
For further details please contact the Home Mission Desk of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; tel: 020 7901 4818.