Newsletter- 24th Week of Ordinary Time
This Sunday 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time we keep Evangelii Gaudium Sunday. Formerly known as Home Mission Sunday, Evangelii Gaudium Sunday is celebrated each year on the Third Sunday in September. There will be a second collection at all our Sunday Masses this weekend to support the work of the Bishops’ Conference Department of Evangelisation and Discipleship.
In 2013, in the first year of his pontificate, Pope Francis released an Apostolic Exhortation on the joy of the Gospel entitled Evangelii Gaudium. In it, he encouraged the Church to “embark on a new chapter of evangelisation” marked by this joy, whilst striving to find new paths to proclaim the Gospel in today’s world:
‘We cannot forget that evangelisation is first and foremost about preaching the Gospel to those who do not know Jesus Christ or who have always rejected him. Many of these are quietly seeking God, led by a yearning to see his face… Christians have the duty to proclaim the Gospel without excluding anyone.’Evangelii Gaudium, §14
This is the challenge and opportunity we take up on Evangelii Gaudium Sunday. In the Church the work of encounter and evangelisation is promoted through the Directorate for Mission. Through this Directorate, the vision of the Holy Father is embraced in a fuller way and promotes the whole ideal of proclamation, evangelisation, dialogue, and catechesis. Pope Francis calls us as Christs modern day disciples to embark on a fundamental change of direction when it comes to evangelisation, no longer relying on past structures and actions but to read the signs of the times and act passionately in proclaiming the unique message of the Gospel that brings joy to all people who receive it with an open heart. He says:
‘I dream of a ‘missionary option’, that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channelled for the evangelisation of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation.’ Evangelii Gaudium, §27
The readings at Mass this Sunday remind us that we are all responsible for one another. It is not enough for anyone of us to turn our face away and ignore what our sister or brother is doing. In the Old Testament God sent the prophets to carry his message to his people. God warns Ezekiel that if he commands him to deliver a message, and he does not carry out this command, then he is responsible for the death of the guilty person. We are all prophets. God calls us to speak his word to each other. Our role is not to judge, but to guide our sisters and brothers if we think they have gone astray. God offers correction through us. But Paul reminds us that we need to carry out this correction with love. ‘Love cannot hurt your neighbour!’ In the gospel, Jesus again encourages us to help our sisters and brothers to realise when they have done something wrong. Jesus encourages us to make them aware kindly but assertively. Jesus gives us a three-step process to follow. Finally, the sister or brother who still refuses to change her or his way, Jesus invites us to treat them like he treats pagans and tax collectors, with great love and acceptance!
Andrew Wakley – Ministry of Acolyte: Andrew will God willing, receive the ministry of Acolyte from Bishop Patrick at the evening Mass at St Barnabas Cathedral on Sunday 24th September. This is the next important ministry he will receive as he continues to discern his vocation to the Permanent Diaconate. The ministry of Acolyte is linked to service at the Altar, as a reminder that Deacons are ordained to assist and to lead worship, including some of the sacraments, to preach and proclaim the Gospel and to exercise the ministry of charity. Please keep Andrew in your prayers this coming week as he prepares to receive this next important ministry next weekend.
Parish Confirmation Course 2024 – You will find an advert in this week’s Bulletin about our next Confirmation course. We are limiting places to 30 candidates and applications will be taken on a “first come first served basis.” I am very grateful to those parishioners who have already volunteered as catechists; however, it would be good to have a few more volunteers to help support our young people. If you would like to assist, please come, and speak with me informally and I will put you in touch with Mary Peeling who is heading up our Parish Confirmation Catechist Team.
With my prayers for you and for your families,
2023 17th September 2023– Newsletter – Download