Editorial

What is it that guides and motivates our parishes? What is it that focuses our energies and corporate life as a movement? In one sense the answer to these questions is easy: Jesus Christ and the proclamation of the Gospel. The bedrock of our lives as Christians is just that – to seek to serve our God and to seek to draw others into relationship with him. In looking to the future we might broaden this out to speak about unity and mission. Our particular vocation as members of Forward in Faith is to speak of the truth of the Christian faith and to seek for a deeper unity not only as members of the Church of England but also as Catholic Christians. This in a sense is our mission, our apostolic work. In working for and witnessing to the unity that Jesus himself prayed for we seek to build up the Body of Christ. There are many ways in which this is happening all across the Catholic Movement. In this past year there have been initiatives to deepen our understanding of what our mission might be. The Bishop of Fulham organised a teaching entitled ‘Tools for Mission’ which encouraged lay people to consider how they might assist and work in their parishes in areas such as music, social media, finance and children’s work. In the Northern Province the ‘Bread for the World’ conference offered a time of study and fellowship focussing on the Eucharist and empowering people to speak about their faith and the love of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. The festivals hosted by the Bishop of Richborough continued to be well attended and focussed on bible study and exploring the scriptures together. The Additional Curates Society continue to work with those exploring their vocations in a number settings. The Church Union is supporting parishes in their communications and outreach, running courses and offering advice so that parishes can get the best results possible. This is by no means a comprehensive list of what is going on across our movement, but simply a snap-shot of some of the work. Next year more of the same work will continue. The parishes which look to the Bishop of Richborough will be focussing on scripture as the Word of God, the Epiphany Festival hosted by the Bishop of Fulham will again offer a focus on mission in our parishes, and there will be a Walsingham Festival in Durham Cathedral. This is of course not to mention all the valuable work going on across our parishes. Nor is our work simply focussed on mission and unity in this country. There will be a large range of pilgrimages to holy sites across the world, engaging with Christians of different traditions. One of these pilgrimages takes adults and young people to Lourdes. Organised by the Society of Mary in August (3rd-7th) this pilgrimage offers an opportunity for 12-18 years olds to experience a pilgrimage to Lourdes alongside other young people and at a subsidised rate. What this helps them to experience is not only are their other young catholics in the Church of England but that we are a part of a much wider tradition. It speaks powerfully of the universal nature of our faith and encourages the young people to think about how they might serve God in his church and play their part in the mission of the church. A particularly impressive part of the pilgrimage is when the young people write and then lead the Stations of the Cross for the whole pilgrimage group, offering spiritual insights and reflections which never fail to touch the other pilgrims. All of these activities show the breadth of the Catholic Movement and should serve as an encouragement to us to be active in missionary endeavours as we seek to witness to the love of God. This Christmas the Church of England is encouraging us to use the stap line “FollowtheStar. This is a wonderful opportunity for mission and for our parishes to engage many people across the country. The star which guides us to Christ is not only the star which guided the Magi but also Our Lady which guides each Christian. As St Bernard of Clairvaux reminds us: ‘If the winds of temptation arise; if you are driven upon the rocks of tribulation look to the star, call on Mary. If you are tossed upon the waves of pride, of ambition, of envy, of rivalry, look to the star, call on Mary. Should anger, or avarice, or fleshly desire violently assail the frail vessel of your soul, look at the star, call upon Mary.’

2020-02-10T13:43:29+00:00 December 2019 Articles|