Archbishop's response to parishes and deaneries RE: LYLS review 2004-05
Statement Released: Saturday, June 10, 2006
My dear priests and people of the Parishes and Deaneries of the Archdiocese of Brisbane,
Thank you sincerely for the work and energy that you have spent compiling reports on your participation in the nine priorities of Let Your Light Shine. The reports indicated your comprehensive, faith-filled, energetic and visionary attempt to address a number of issues associated with the mission of the Church in this Archdiocese. For that I am truly grateful. The reports paint a picture of spiritual vitality that is encouraging for me and all people who will read them.
I attach the report to me from the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council which assisted me in forming a comprehensive picture of parish and deanery activities in light of the nine priorities. It will give you an overall picture and contains many observations and ideas that may assist you in your circumstances. There are recommendations to the Archdiocese about ways to assist parishes and deaneries Ė these are being considered. There are also other valuable supporting materials on the archdiocesan website:
We live in exciting times in the Church as the Holy Spirit speaks to us of how we might better bring the good news of Jesus Christ to our 600,000 Catholics, as well as to the multitude of people who have not yet heard it. As people baptised into Jesus Christ, we were never meant to be individual followers of Christ, caring only about our own spiritual wellbeing, but rather followers of Christ in the true sense of that term, filled with the life, hope, and energy of the Gospel, and constantly trying to reach out to other people with the good news we have received and lived, and which we believe other people can also receive and live.
Everything we do in the parishes and deaneries of the Archdiocese should be directed towards this mission which shares in the mission of the Church and ultimately in the mission of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Today as I travel the Archdiocese I detect a stirring of faith, not overwhelming but certainly present. Not only is it visible in the larger numbers who gather at Easter and Christmas but in the lives of many young people, who bored with our too shallow culture of materialism, search for something better. As Christians we have the answers they seek, most certainly not found in books as misleading as The Da Vinci Code. Nevertheless before we can give them the answers, we must ourselves be convinced of the truth of the gospel so that we can confidently share it with other people. If we are not life-filled Christians even with the crosses that appear in all our lives, if we are not also prepared to engage the world by word and action with the good news of Christ then people, especially young people, will just not be interested in the faith we profess. It is as simple as that. The most comprehensive vision of the Christian faith I have heard, was spoken by Bishop Thomas Wright in a series of eight lectures on his recent visit to Brisbane. They are available on disc for anyone who has ears to hear. (http://bne.catholic.net.au/mission/resources.htm)
Without going into all the details of your response to the nine priorities, I would like to finish with two observations:
1. We will never understand Christianity unless we have a comprehensive understanding of Jesus Christ and his vision. If Jesus Christ does not excite ourselves and our parish then something is radically wrong with the faith we profess.
2. If regular prayer and worship is not a normal part of our lives and that of our parishes, then we can never fully understand Christ or his vision of the kingdom. Prayer and worship is an absolutely essential part of our faith and should be planned into our lives, and not merely be an accidental or occasional happening. I cannot overemphasise the importance of regular prayer if we wish to be called true followers of Jesus Christ who, as we see from the gospel, prayed constantly.Christian action also is needed as an integral part of our lives, but it must be balanced by prayer. If there is not both prayer and action then we will most certainly fail in our attempt to attract people to the gospel, as we hope to do.
In my final five years as Archbishop leading up to the year 2011 I wish to play a more visible and wider role as prayer-leader of this Archdiocese. Unless all our planning is based on prayer we will never evangelise as we desire, nor will the light of Christ shine as brightly as it should. May God bless our way forward and may Mary, the mother of Jesus and St Mary Magdalene, first witness of the risen Christ, pray for our simple but sincere attempts to promote the reign of Godís Kingdom in this area of Godís world.
Sincerely in Christ,
Most Rev John Bathersby D.D
ARCHBISHOP OF BRISBANE