It was a wonderful sight to see on a cold, dark, frosty November evening. Five hundred or so people from every corner of the diocese to join Bishop Declan in a simple celebration of Evening Prayer in our Cathedral. As part of the celebration, the Bishop was to present to each parish, religious, and school community as well as each of our diocesan departments, resources for the approaching Year of Mission as part of our diocesan vision, A Future Full of Hope
In his homily, the bishop reminded us that whichever community we belong to, wherever we have come from within our diocese, we are one. The evening reflected that unity of a diocesan community and a real enthusiasm for the journey we embark upon together.
But the bishop asked us to consider what ‘face’ we are giving as a diocese, as parishes, as religious, as schools to the wider world? Hopefully, he commented, we are revealing the face of Christ for we are called to be the face of Christ. It is Christ who is the loving face of God and so our world should encounter the presence of God in us, he said.
“Our lives are transformed because of our encounter with Christ. We become a mission! I share in the mission of Christ for our world. And so in this Year, we are reflecting upon what it means to be a missionary church and missionary disciples, transforming our world according to the plan of God. We are a people who are called to build bridges, called to action in the name of Christ.”
Our lives are a proclamation of the gospel and the bishop reminded us that we are not being called to do anything extra but simply to allow what are already doing to become the vehicle through which our world and those around us come to know the transforming power and goodness of God’s love.
Bishop Declan invited us to go back to the scriptures and, most especially, the Gospel of Mark; to hear the words of Jesus, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of God is close at hand’. We hear those words anew so that we can come to God and, through our lives, bring others to know him, too.
The resource for this Year of Mission was presented by Bishop Declan to each community. If you felt you didn’t receive enough copies then you can always contact Fr Christopher for more. Alternatively, you can easily download the electronic version here.
Keep an eye out for events, liturgies and resources to accompany our diocese through this Year of Mission and into a future full of hope.
You can hear the full Homily that Bishop Declan gave below:
Phil Gibbons also spoke to a few people who had made the journey to the Cathedral last night. Hes asked them why it was important that they were there for this launch:
Download the Mission book here: A Future Full of Hope Mission book