Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth has announced an eight-point plan for “bringing people closer to Christ” in his diocese. He set out his plan in a pastoral letter on the fifth anniversary of his episcopal ordination.
He said it was a “vision statement of my hopes and aspirations for the next decade”, and asked Catholics to “develop strategies … to implement the vision in their own contexts”.
The first priority was mission, he said, to “enable immeasurably more people to hear the Gospel afresh”; the second was to “assist all Catholics, especially those who are not yet practising, to reach a deeper personal relationship with Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist, to be more intentional disciples and, discerning their charisms, to become more actively engaged in the Church’s mission”.
Thirdly, in “shifting from maintenance to mission”, he wrote, “we trust more completely in God through prayer, imploring the Holy Spirit to inspire our clergy and our laity with constant joy and creativity to develop and realise new, innovative ministries and ways of Christian living”.
His fourth priority was to “help our parish and school communities to become outward-facing service centres”.
These priorities led to three areas of attention, he said: a focus on youth, promoting vocations and prioritising the diocese’s resources.
But the most basic need, he wrote, was “that Portsmouth Catholics become holy”. This means, he said, “that we seek holiness of life in imitation of Jesus, obedient to God and legitimate authority, loving and respecting one another, and filled with the Holy Spirit; that we foster a joyful, positive, ‘can-do’ attitude”.
Earlier this year, in his Easter sermon, Bishop Egan called on Catholics to “lead the new evangelisation of our land”.
Chapel is shortlisted for award
The first wooden church to be built in London since the Great Fire of 1666 has been shortlisted for an architecture award.
The Belarusian Memorial Chapel, a Byzantine rite Catholic church, was nominated in the Church Architecture Awards, run by the Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors Association and the National Churches Trust. The winner of this year’s awards will be announced next month.
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