Bishop Alan gathers ideas for the New Evangelisation

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Bishop Alan gathers ideas for the New Evangelisation

Bishop Alan Hopes has relaunched the Diocesan Commission for the New Evangelisation to take advantage of fresh opportunities.

Bishop Alan relaunched the new Commission at the White House in Poringland on Saturday September 19, by reminding the members that the Church exists to evangelise. 

The Bishop was particularly keen to reach out to those who are fearful of returning to church, those who for the moment have decided to follow services online, and “those who have no faith”. The Commission, he said, would bring new vision and fresh ideas to the parishes and share good practice of what was already happening.

Bishop Alan said that part of the purpose of the Commission would be to once again bring together small groups of like-minded people who are enthusiastic to promote evangelisation in the parish.

Fr Karol Porczak, who is leading the Commission, showed a video of interviews with parishioners from St Ives who had taken part in door-to-door evangelisation. “It’s been really helpful in our life of faith,” said one. “We found it very enjoyable, and we miss it.”

“The Commission is inviting all Catholics to reflect on the strategy outlined in the letter ‘The Day of the Lord’ sent this April by the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales,” explains Rebecca Bretherton, who is coordinating the Commission for the New Evangelisation. “We hope that parishes will discuss this letter together. It could spark ideas for inviting and welcoming people to encounter Jesus Christ in our Church.”

The letter identifies a threefold pattern to the challenge of restoring communities impacted by Covid and renewing their practice of faith. It encourages Catholics to reach out to:

  1. a) The fearful and weary, anxious about coming into the enclosed spaces of our churches; those who have simply lost the habit of coming to church. Personal contact, clear reassurance, and sensitive invitations will all be needed.
  2. b)  Those who will have reassessed their pattern of life and priorities. The practice of faith within the community of the Catholic Church may not be among those priorities. A gap may have opened up, or widened, between the spiritual dimension of their lives and any communal expression of that spiritual quest. They represent a particular focus and concern for our outreach.
  3. c)  Those whom we might describe as the ‘Covid curious’, those who have come into contact with the Catholic Church through our presence on the internet – a contact we may be able to develop through our continuing presence across diverse media platforms.

The relaunched Commission so far includes members from the deaneries of Peterborough, Cambridge, Norwich and Bury St Edmunds, and it is hoped that the remaining deaneries will also be represented in future meetings. 

Pictured above are some members of the Diocesan Commission for the New Evangelisation. From left to right, Elizabeth Barker, Ciaran Losasso, Bishop Alan Hopes, Rebecca Bretherton, Philip Kemp, Mel Ward, Fr Karol Porczak.