Dear Fellow Parishioners,
We shall shortly be celebrating the first centenary, of our Brentwood Diocese. Thank God, there will be much to celebrate! At the same time, of course, we now find ourselves on the threshold of a new centenary in which each one of us is called again to make known the Good News of Our Lord Jesus Christ! Looking to the future, our bishop, Bishop Alan, has instigated the ‘Stewards of the Gospel’ initiative. Within it, Bishop Alan is asking each of us, as members of our parish and of our diocese, to take time to reflect together in order that we might discern the road ahead! Our work, the work of the Church, is to make known the person of Jesus Christ to our local community as well as to the world beyond! Our task is to be a missionary Church! Our task is to Evangelise! How best, in the years ahead, can we proclaim anew the Joy of the Gospel, both within our own parish and to the world beyond? My role as Steward of the Gospel for our parish is to help instigate and lead this period and process, this time for reflection and planning, in co-operation with Father Kevin and the priests of our parish, and in collaboration with all parishioners. The Steward of the Gospel initiative is a process of consultation. Your views are being sought by the Bishop, not to change the treasure of our Catholic Faith but as to how we might make better known our Faith, as to how we might better evangelise, as to how we might better reflect God’s love and mercy to a sometimes sceptical world. Stewards of the Gospel are expected to encourage and stimulate discussion amongst parishioners and to be an advocate for their views, suggestions, concerns and ideas such that these might in due course be reflected in the future plans and aspirations of our parish and Diocese. In order that there is consistency of approach throughout the Diocese, the Steward of the Gospel process is guided by a document entitled ‘Stewards of the Gospel-Parish Questionnaire’ comprising three sections: Section A focuses on facets of the parish and is intended to present a ‘picture’ of parish life and what is “going on” here; it is an ‘audit’ of the human, material and spiritual resources of the parish: Section B is the challenging part of the consultation process – focusing on the same facets of parish life as Section A, it poses some searching questions for parishioners to engage with; Section C will be the summary of the parish’s deliberations and discernment. The whole ‘Parish Questionnaire’ has now been placed on the parish website, lourdesleigh.org. Two requests; First, I have filled in large parts of Section A – if there are any mistakes there or there is information you can provide do please let me know on 01702 552373 or email@example.com ; secondly, to address Section B of the Questionnaire we are arranging two ‘workshops’ to be held in the Parish Centre both from 2.00-4.00pm on both Saturday 5th November and Saturday 19th November. Please note these dates in your diary – if you are able to join us please let Jan know on 01702 478105 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For parishioners unable to attend these sessions we hope you will respond to a short questionnaire…more details to follow!
Thank you for your support! Francis O’Brien.