Our Brentwood Diocese has begun a year of celebrations to mark the anniversary of its first centenary, 1917-2017! Thank God, there is much to celebrate! At the same time, however, we find ourselves standing on the threshold of the next centenary in which we are called once again to proclaim and pass on the Good News of Our Lord Jesus Christ! To assist us with this task, Bishop Alan launched the Stewards of the Gospel initiative, asking each of us, as members of our parish communities, to pause and take stock, to reflect together in a spirit of prayerfulness and take time to discern how best to undertake this mission! How best shall we be able to proclaim anew the Joy of the Gospel, both within our own parish and to the world beyond? How shall we ensure the continued provision of the Sacraments for our parish communities in the years ahead, anticipating (in so far as we can) the challenges those years might hold?   Each parish within the Diocese has been asked to appoint a Steward of the Gospel whose job it is, in cooperation with the priests of the parish, to help instigate and lead this period and process of reflection and discernment in collaboration with all parishioners. Stewards of the Gospel are expected by Bishop Alan 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 Diocese. The first stage of the discernment process is one of drawing up an audit of the life of the Parish, its human, material and spiritual resources and what is going on here! The intention is to share the picture which emerges with parishioners prior to mid-November, 2016, involving them in contributing their own thoughts and ideas as to how we might build upon the achievements of the last one hundred years and, placing our trust in the good Lord, go forth in faith to share the good news of the Gospel with fellow parishioners, with our neighbours and with the world beyond! 

Francis O’Brien
Steward of the Gospel
Our Lady of Lourdes & Saint Joseph Parish, Leigh-on-Sea