Over 40 parishioners came to our Parish Forum last Sunday, & facilitated by the Vision Group, we made further valuable progress towards formulating a Vision Statement for the future of our Parish. It was inspiring to be there, with a profound sense of deep & prayerful engagement, with two testimonies from one of our youngest & oldest on their hopes for our future together. The Vision Group would again encourage those who are not able to be with us to offer their thoughts by completing a card with their words of wisdom. Next Saturday (1st Dec) the Group will gather to shape an initial draft of the Statement, which will be brought back to us for comment & clarification. Their day will begin with a Holy Hour from 9am to which you are most welcome. Please keep the Group as well as each & every one of us in your prayers at this Advent moment.
On this Feast of Christ the King we celebrate particularly the presence, life & energy of our young people, on this Youth Sunday. We are gifted & blessed to have so many young people actively among us each weekend, albeit we lose a number of them understandably to the College during term time. We miss them, yet appreciate all they contribute at the Abbey on our behalf.
Some reflections from last month’s Youth Synod in Rome from Pope Francis “Do we reflect Jesus? Are we a place where they (the young) feel welcome? Where they feel at home? Where they feel nourished?” The Pope wants us to become a synodal Church, a discerning Church where the Church listens & responds to reality rather than imposing all solutions that do not work. Pope Francis realises that the Church must become a listening & accompanying Church if it is to help people. Sadly not all Bishops got it. 51 Bishops (20% of those voting) voted against the paragraph encouraging synodality within the Church. Sometimes Jesus maybe the young explaining things to the Bishops.
Our Bishops are recently back from an Ad Limina visit to Rome & Pope Francis. Each Bishop has 15 mins with the Holy Father: sadly we rarely hear details of their conversation. Some years ago the then Bishop of Nottingham, Malcolm McMahon (now Archbishop of Liverpool) was asked 2 questions by the Pope. “How is the Church in Leicester?” (the most ethnically diverse city in the UK) & “How are your young people evangelising themselves?” & we might ask how are our young people evangelising us?
20 years ago I read in an Irish Catholic periodical a letter written by a young practising Catholic to her Parish Priest. She wrote “the Eucharist, the Last Supper, Jesus giving his life for us, this is as good as it gets. However, there is one thing missing, not all of the time but some of the time “where is your passion? Where is the energy you gave your life for all those years ago?” & she finished (addressing her own generation) “where is our passion?” Let us all, young & old, pray supportively for one another in thanksgiving for the life, energy & joy we share already, that the coming Advent season may be a time when we prepare passionately for the coming of the Christ Child. With my love & prayers, Fr Bede.