Presentation on theme: "The Parish Mission and the New Evangelisation. New approaches in the London Province."— Presentation transcript:
The Parish Mission and the New Evangelisation. New approaches in the London Province
The changing face of the parish mission The style and the format of parish missions in our Province have changed dramatically in the past thirty years. Missions used to last at least two intensive weeks during which the Redemptorists would visit every home in the parish and invite everyone personally to come to the mission. The goal was to get everyone in the parish back to the practice of the faith and to confirm the faith of the devout.
The evangelising parish The goal of the mission today is to renew the faith of the eucharistic community and help the practising parish to become an evangelising parish. A parish of 500 practising members shouldn’t wait for two missioners to come and visit all the parish. They should be doing that themselves. They should be evangelising their own community.
The Mission of the Parish We see the mission, not as a Redemptorist mission to the parish but as the Parish’s mission to its own members and to the broader community. Not every parish priest and not every parish community sees mission in this way. Many still want to receive without the responsibility of having to give, to be evangelised without having to evangelise. Their religious formation turned them into passive recipients of the good news and not active sharers of the good news.
Preparing for the mission To begin the work of communicating a new sense of mission to the parish we ask the parishioners to take responsibility for the planning of the mission. The preparatory weekend of preaching and meetings with the parish council etc are very significant. Visits to the schools and planning with teachers are necessary for a good involvement of the parish schools in the mission.
The tone and the content of the preaching The Gospel proclamation itself has changed in both tone and content. Today we preach Christ as the source of our human dignity and we develop John Paul’s teaching: “Amazement at human dignity is the gospel”. (Redemptor Hominis, 10) Our aim is to leave the parish with a new sense of their dignity and willing to share the good news that makes them feel good about themselves with others.
The experience of faith The Redemptorist parish mission today is an opportunity for highlighting to people the discrepancy which often exists between the way God sees them and the way they see themselves, between “the core beliefs” that they hold about God and “the poor beliefs” that they often hold about themselves. Our proclamation of Christ seeks to make the connection between what we believe “about God” and what “we believe about ourselves”. Getting to know “the face of God in Christ” without getting to know “our own face” in Christ, does not heal our inner wounds, nor inspire us to open our hearts to the abundant life that Christ offers.
The “informative” and “performative” mission Para-liturgies such as the Healing Service, the Reconciliation Service, the Blessing of Families, ensure that our preaching has an experiential dimension throughout the week. We accept Pope Benedict’s challenge:“Can our encounter with the God who in Christ, has shown us his face and opened his heart, be for us too not just “informative” but “performative” – that is to say, can it change our lives, so that we know we are redeemed through the hope that it expresses”? Pope Benedict XVl, Spe Salvi, 4
The Mission in our Centre in Scotland Since 1867 St. Mary’s Monastery in Perth has been both a mission and a retreat centre. In the past thirty years we have developed retreats and courses in all aspects of human development. Many non-religious people come for these courses and frequently re-connect with God in their lives. The residential centre is a powerful forum for evangelising. Several thousand men and women spend time in our Centre each year.
Mission to Priests and Religious in England Hawkstone Hall, our International Renewal Centre in England, is well known throughout the world. We began our three month renewal courses in 1975. Each year we run three courses. Our vision for these courses is the renewal of the pastors. When pastors have been re-evangelised they are energised to evangelise in new ways.
“ Leaving the hearer bound to the love of Jesus Christ”. (St. Alphonsus’ goal for the mission) Redemptorists are the evangelists of the true identity of each person as a son or daughter of God. When we enable people, through our proclamation of the word of God and our para-liturgical celebrations to discover their true selves in Christ, to become aware of their true dignity, we have proclaimed to them the Good News of Jesus Christ and brought our Holy Redeemer into the lives and experience of people. We have given a good mission either in the parish or in a Centre.
Faith renewal and development The modern style of mission in the London Province is a powerful means for renewing and developing the faith of the “faithful people”. The fruit of this kind of mission will be seen in the future as renewed parishes accept their responsibility for evangelising their own societies. We are “sowers of the seed”. Others will reap the harvest.