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27 September 2015
posted by Canon Dakin on 29-09-2015

You must be aware that last week Pope Francis was in the United States. He addressed both the American Congress and the United Nations Assembly - but what would have been his message to the Catholics of America? I am confident that it would have been a variation on the wish expressed by Moses this morning: “If only the whole people were prophets”. To prophesy is not to foretell the future it is to speak out on behalf of God.  In his first encyclical, The Joy of the Gospel, Pope Francis wrote: “In virtue of their baptism all the members of the People of God have become missionary disciples. All the baptised, whatever their position in the Church or their level of instruction in the faith are agents of evangelisation”. So, says the Pope, “What are we waiting for?” He points to the way in which a mother, with quiet confidence, can speak of her faith to her child.

Last week we heard a letter from our bishops telling us about a conference in Birmingham attended by delegates from all the dioceses to share ideas about how at parish level we might become missionary communities.  The group from our diocese was led by Sr Mary Ekman. She is one of three American nuns invited into the diocese by the Bishop. Next month she is coming to talk to our Deanery Pastoral Council.  From that meeting we may pick up some ideas.  Our faith is God’s gift to us to be shared and the country is in need of a new openness on our part.  In a recent survey 57%, just over half the people questioned, professed to being Christian but of them two out of five didn’t think that Jesus was real -  they thought that the gospel was a fairy story. Where England is concerned Christianity has become a thin veneer.  

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