ARCHBISHOP Mark Coleridge of Brisbane recently sharpened his focus on the New Evangelisation movement within the Church with a presentation to members of key governance bodies in the archdiocese.
He said “‘new evangelisation’ is not a phrase found in the documents of Vatican II but (according to Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI) takes us to the heart of what the council was all about”.
Archbishop Coleridge said the February 27 gathering at the Francis Rush Centre, the first formation session of its type for key people in the archdiocese, may become an annual event.
The theme of the Archbishop’s presentation fitted with his ongoing vision for a “more missionary Church”.
“The focus of the evening was to try and get beyond the clichés and mantras to a deeper understanding of what the Spirit is saying to the Church at this time,” he said.
Archbishop Coleridge said the call immediately after the Second Vatican Council was to renewal, “but the purpose of the renewal was and is a ‘new evangelisation'”.
“The council sought to make the Church more missionary,” he said.
“At a time when we may have been tempted to turn inwards, we were called to look and move outwards.
“This implies a kind of Copernican revolution: rather than the world revolving around the Church, the Church revolves around the world.
“A new evangelisation doesn’t mean that we jettison all that we’ve been doing, but it does mean that we ask how we might do old and familiar things (for example, the parish) in new ways.”
Archdiocesan vicar general Monsignor Peter Meneely said “the evening had provided an opportunity not only to listen to the archbishop’s address but also to meet and interact with each other”.
“Those present had the opportunity to receive in-servicing on a very significant direction in the life of the world Church,” he said.
“The archbishop’s presentation captured a renewed and refocused sense of purpose and of looking for new ways to preach the Gospel.
“It was about allowing people in all sectors of the community to encounter the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“It was also about building on the many different initiatives already in place in the archdiocese.
“There was a recognition we live in a deeply secular society, one which is often unreceptive to Christ’s wonderful message that is so full of hope.
“A most lively and enthusiastic discussion ensued.”
Msgr Meneely said the archbishop also had an opportunity to connect with many of the people who provide significant advice on various matters pertaining to the pastoral and mission life of the archdiocese.
Archbishop Coleridge said it was hoped the gathering “would help overcome a silo-approach where agencies and bodies in the archdiocese inhabit a world of their own with little communication between worlds”.
“It would help to promote a more ecclesial culture,” he said.
“It would also help to focus and remember when day-to-day pressures in a large and complex organisation can blur the focus and create a kind of amnesia.
“We can too easily forget what we are really on about.”
Archbishop Coleridge said no further meetings of this kind were planned for the archdiocese at the moment.
“However, this kind of formation session for key people may become an annual event in the archdiocese.”