BY Ian Dunn | March 11 2011 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Go forth and evangelise

— Cardinal Keith O’Brien and Archbishop Mario Conti lead the call in letters for Lent

Senior members of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland are urging Scottish Catholics to embrace ‘new life’ and ‘new evangelisation’ during Lent.

In his pastoral letter Cardinal Keith O’Brien said Catholics faced a challenge to embrace the ‘New Evangelisation.’

It is ‘a challenge which we should be facing at this present time and preparing for it by the ways in which we lead our lives during this season of Lent,’ he said.

Archbishop Mario Conti told Catholics in Glasgow that Lent was a time to reflect ‘triumphantly, upon the new life of grace’ that their Faith bestowed upon them.

New Evangelisation

Cardinal O’Brien said that there was no doubt a ‘new evangelisation’ was needed by the Church in Scotland today.

“The term ‘new evangelisation’ was made popular by the late Pope John Paul II with reference to efforts to reawaken the Faith in traditionally Christian parts of the world particularly in Europe,” he told Catholics in St Andrews and Edinburgh Archdiocese in his letter. “We might say that in various parts of Europe and indeed in our own country of Scotland we were indeed first ‘evangelised’ or converted to Christianity many centuries ago.

“This indeed happened in Scotland with St Ninian bringing Christianity to our country from Rome around the year 397AD, more than 1600 years ago. But who would not state that we are in need of a ‘new evangelisation’ today.

“It falls on our shoulders to hand on a new knowledge of Jesus as a real person; and His teachings as they have been handed down through the centuries to ourselves in our Church and in our world of today.”

The cardinal stressed this instruction was not a new directive but rather a refreshing of traditional Catholic values.

“We realise the basic structure which has always been with us in living our Christian lives and handing on our faith: The threefold structure of home, school and parish,” he said. “I would like you to think of each one of these as basically an ‘evangelising community’—a place in which the Gospel is lived and handed on. I see that there are four core responsibilities and ministries involved in each of these structures.  These are: witness—to our Christian faith; worship—in our Christian faith;  welfare—of all in any kind of need; Word—that Word of God which underpins all that we are and all that we do.”

New Life

Archbishop Mario Conti’s message said to Catholics in Glasgow Archdiocese that Lent was a time when we should focus on the new life Christ had granted us.

“Through the grace of our Baptism we are united with Christ Jesus, who accompanies us in our own Passover from death to life,” he said. “St Paul wrote to the Corinthians: ‘Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of all who have fallen asleep.’ That journey of ours commences at Baptism. To the Romans, St Paul wrote: ‘When we were Baptised in Christ Jesus we were Baptised in His death; in other words, when we were Baptised we went into the tomb with Him and joined Him in death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the Father’s glory, we too might live a new life.’

“That new life, which commences at Baptism, is what we Christians are expected to live day by day, schooled by Our Lord’s own teaching and example, and supported by His grace.”

The archbishop also said that Lent was a time for fasting, almsgiving and prayer.

“Fasting helps people overcome selfishness and self-centredness,” he said. “Almsgiving is a reminder of the sharing that should mark each day of a Christian’s life. And prayer is a reminder that time belongs to God and His desire is for people to spend eternity with Him.”

St Andrew’s Cathedral

Archbishop Conti also said Easter would be a special time of joy for Glasgow’s Catholics as it would see St Andrew’s Cathedral returned to full use.

“I pray that the stones of our renovated metropolitan cathedral, which will reopen on the Fifth Sunday of Lent, will be the symbol of the living stones of an archdiocesan community committed to continue St Mungo’s mission in the 21st century and beyond,” he said. “At the Easter Vigil I will bless the new baptismal font within the cathedral, as, at it and throughout the archdiocese, new members are brought into the community of Faith. May we by our Faithful prayer and example accompany them and share with them the joy of Easter.”


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