By Sadie Smith
Pope Francis spends the first 17 paragraphs talking about the Joy of the Gospel. He stresses the need for all of us to be evangelised – to grow in our love and knowledge of Jesus Christ through the Gospels before we can reach out to others. “Rejoicing in the Lord always, again I say REJOICE”. (Philippians 4:4)
Then he proceeds to tell us that we must "GO FORTH". We must change and come out of our comfort zone and get involved. We should make conscious effort to reach communities in need of the light of the Gospel. “Taking the first steps, being involved and supportive, bearing fruit and rejoicing.”
The Church’s Missionary Transformation is the heading of CHAPTER ONE of the Evangelii Gaudium.
The Sacred Heart Parish is running two courses on this very important document. It is exactly what is needed at this time as we face the “new world” after Covid-19. The whole world has to make changes, equally so he Catholic Church has to make adjustments. We cannot continue as we are and we cannot say “we have always done it this way” any more. We have to move on into a new era in our way of being Christian – we have to address our Missionary Transformation.
The course consists of over 20 of us (including our priests and chaired by Sadie Smith). The book is loaded with ideas and scriptures and pray fully meditate upon. It certainly is not comfortable reading in Paragraph 26 when Pope Francis says: “The Church must look with penetrating eyes within itself, ponder the mystery of her own being…This vivid and lively self-awareness inevitably leads to a comparison between the ideal image of the Church as Christ envisaged her and loved her as his holy and spotless bride (Ephesians 5:27) and the actual image which the Church presents to the world today.” So it goes on.
We are certainly finding it challenging, rewarding and sometimes overwhelming. I just wish the whole of the Pastoral Group with all their Parish Priests would prayerfully and diligently study this document – so that we could all move on together. I will write more as we progress very slowly with the course.
By Sadie Smith 020 8946 5198
The Parish is the family of the Church – are we a hospitable Parish?
Do we make people feel wanted, comfortable, valued, noticed, feel at home - at all times, not just at the door of the Church? Do we make room and welcome others into the bench beside us?
This is the responsibility of all of us, regardless of age, race or colour – if we communicate friendship and welcome to all the people we meet then ”they will know that we are Christians by our love”. We are all needed and wanted.
Jesus makes us all welcome no matter what we look like or how we lead our lives. It is not our place to be judgemental or critical. By greeting the person you don’t know with a smile and a listening ear you may find that you have more in common than you ever expected. There is one thing you do share already - being member of this Parish Community, whether just for one day or for many years makes no difference. As one of the Welcomers at the Sunday Masses said to me “You only have to arrive 10-15 minutes before Mass. It’s a great way of volunteering, it's probably the easiest commitment anyone could make”.
Our current welcomers are doing a great job – but they need more helpers especially on big feast days and special occasions. They would be delighted to talk to you about what they do and how they enjoy meeting and greeting the people as they come into Mass. Talk to any of the people welcoming you into Mass on Sunday(or to the Parish Priest) for more information, and come and join in this very enjoyable life of the Parish.
One of the ways you can bring this about is by helping to hand out hymn books, newsletters etc. Helping after Mass distributing information, selling tickets or dropping in for a coffee after Mass. If no coffee is available start a coffee morning.
More Volunteers are always welcome for a whole lot of different Ministries - have a look
at the Parish Directory the Parish website.
Everyone should go home from Mass feeling renewed and accepted with a sense of belonging – and that’s the gift that you and I can do for others.
Copyright 2020 Merton Deanery