It’s time for Christmas shopping!” – this comes to mind the moment we enter into the season of Advent. Advent is “a time of vigilant waiting, conversion and of hope.” The next couple of weeks we will be waiting for the coming of Jesus once again into our hearts and our homes on Christmas Day, and also prepare for His final glorious coming on Judgment Day.
To welcome the mystery of the Word Incarnate (cf. John 1:1) and to incarnate the Word in our lives this Christmas, we need to have a conversion of heart. We ought to tune our minds and hearts to live and re-live the spirit of Advent, hoping the Lord will bestow His grace upon us, as we grow in holiness and peace. To realise the true meaning of Christmas – the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus, we should spend time in prayer, meditation and daily reading of Scripture throughout Advent. As we strive to be closer to Jesus, may His Grace free us from sin and from its evil consequences. May the New liturgical year and Advent bring many blessings and graces to you and your families.
To prepare for the new liturgical year 2018/2019, twelve of us, including heads from various ministries, came together on Saturday, 24 November 2018 to revise our Parish mission statements and pastoral priorities. We began the session with silent adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament for an hour, before entering into discussion and sharing.
First, we discussed the various reasons the Church is moving towards a New Evangelisation The word Evangelisation has a similar meaning to missionary efforts in proclaiming Jesus to everyone. The term New Evangelisation was first used by Saint Pope John Paul II, when he was addressing the Latin American Bishops in 1983. He invited every Christian to make known Christ and His Gospel to everyone, to the baptised who have lost the sense of faith and also to those who live a life far detached from Christ and His Church.
In the Jubilee Year 2000, Saint John Paul challenged the Church to leave behind the shallow waters, not just by maintaining the Church’s institution, but to go to the deeper waters of Evangelisation. We, as a Church, are invited today to “put into the deep” or Duc in Altum, and lower our nets for more catch (Luke 5:4), which means to carry out the mission of Jesus Christ to every corner of the world and to every culture.
Dear Parishioners, I hope you still remember our Parish vision for the year 2018-2020, which is “Committing Ourselves to New Evangelisation” and our Parish pastoral priority for the year 2019, which will be on Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue (EIRD). Our discussion on our pastoral priority for 2019 focused on EIRD and the issues, which arise with our fellow brethren from other churches and people of other faiths as well. Next, how can we guide our various ministries, clusters and parish community and what are the events we may think of, in order to achieve our vision and mission?
Hence, we want each parishioner to build respectful relationships with everyone, get in touch with each other in the Parish and with those who have distanced themselves from our faith, and to communicate with people of other faiths for the common good of all. Let’s work together to set a path of love and fraternity, by promoting ecumenical and inter-faith harmony, mutual understanding and friendship. The Holy Spirit will guide us on our journey, as we work towards our vision and mission in the coming year, 2019.
VISION: COMMITTING OURSELVES TO NEW EVANGELISATION.
MISSION: As disciples of hope, we, the Parishioners of Saint Joseph’s Church, commit into the spirit of New Evangelisation by building friendship with EVERYONE, including people of other faiths, respectfully and joyfully.
Rev. Fr. George Packiasamy