Archbishop Christian Lépine urges everyone to continue working toward making a “missionary shift” in our Church and invites us to an evening of prayerful listening to God, and to one another, on Friday, September 13, 7 p.m., at Marie-Reine-des-Coeurs Sanctuary.
Dear People of God,
Just over a year ago, on June 24, 2018, I invited you to undertake a major project and to join me at the “Worksite,” where the spiritual and missionary transformation of our diocesan Church will occur. Our world needs God; it needs to experience life, the abundant life that springs from the heart of Christ. We must draw closer to God’s people so as to understand more deeply their joys, hopes, fears and sorrows, and to share with them the joy of living in a covenant relationship with the Lord.
That is the fundamental goal of the Worksite: to direct all our resources and energy toward the mission that we received from the Lord, toward connecting with God and grounding ourselves in Jesus Christ in order to adjust our ways of being and doing as required by the mission, here and now. We go forward taking the path of conversion for the sake of the mission. We are in a hurry, yes, but we walk humbly, aware of our frailties both as individuals and as a community.
A year has elapsed. We LOOKED at what is going on around us and started to envision ways to revitalize our presence in the neighbourhoods within the cities that comprise our diocese. Since the Worksite was established last year on September 14 – the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross – several events and consultations have brought important issues to light. With you, I welcome the call that we be a Church that is present, open and reaches out, a Church close to the people, their gifts and talents and concerns. We wish to be one Church, ONE encompassing the diversity of cultures, talents and approaches found here, one Church united in the Lord and attentive to the “signs of the times” He sends us, authentically serving the dignity of every human person and vibrantly witnessing to the Good News that gives meaning to our lives.
To renew our missionary spirit, we are called to LISTEN constantly to the Lord through PRAYER, to listen more attentively. With the Lord’s help, to listen to what is happening in the “peripheries,” what is affecting the lives of our fellow parishioners, our neighbours and the families in our neighbourhood. This is what I propose we work on during this second year in our Worksite: LISTENING, through prayer, to have a greater sense of the Lord’s will in order to serve Him better. Learning to appreciate being silent before God: to set aside our own desires, our worries and fears for the future, to understand his WORD better. Learning to listen more to the joys and sorrows of the people living in our midst, in society and in the world, to understand better what the Lord is saying to us through them.
We already see and hear the cry of those migrants and refugees among us seeking safety for themselves and their children; we see the precarious economic circumstances that many families face; the suffering of many elderly, sick and isolated people; the anxiety felt by young people as they seek their place in a society dominated by competition and performance. Let us think about those who are trying, often painfully, to seek meaning in their life, a reason to be alive. The Good News that Jesus offers and his liberating love is for everyone.
We also need to be attentive, as a community, to what is shaking the Church to its core, particularly the issue of sexual abuse. We must think about the victims, their families, their communities, society and the Church. It is our hope that, through our active listening, transparency and prevention will eradicate this not only from the Church but also from society, from all situations involving crime and abuse. I am convinced that listening honestly to the suffering we experience will help us to listen to the suffering of our world and to turn to Jesus Christ with confidence so as to serve better his Church and the common good. This is the path that leads to our missionary transformation.
Brothers and sisters, the listening that I propose we undertake during the upcoming pastoral year is not only a component of our Worksite, it must be a permanent state in the life of our Church. We must become listening experts, because it is only by being attentive to the discreet and concrete action of the Holy Spirit, in the midst of the world, that we will be able to help those around us to discern the Lord’s call for their life.
Let us then walk together on the path of renewal and missionary transformation. I invite you to join me on September 13, at 7:30 p.m., at Marie-Reine-des-Coeurs Sanctuary, so that we can present to our Lord Jesus Christ, on the eve of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, our Worksite, our diocese, our world and the whole of Creation, which He wishes to return to the Father, a place transformed by his love.
Together, let us listen to discern his will better and to walk together in mission!
What: Launch of the 2019-2020 pastoral year and update on the diocesan “roadwork” underway
Where: Marie-Reine-des-Coeurs Sanctuary (Cadillac metro)
When: September 13, 7- 9 p.m.