POPE Francis’ recent exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (the Joy of the Gospel) provides “an exciting mandate” for Brisbane archdiocese’s new entity Evangelisation Brisbane.
Vicar general Monsignor Peter Meneely, who will oversee the process of transition to the new structure, said “it’s a real gift to receive the Pope’s exhortation just as we begin to launch this new initiative”.
Mission team leader Ursuline Sister Kari Hatherell and interim formation team leader Mike Humphrys said they hoped through Evangelisation Brisbane to bring “the freshness of Pope Francis’ inspiration“ to all in the archdiocese.
The new entity replaces Faith and Life, which from 2005 delivered a range of services to parishes and deaneries and ecclesial organisations, and supported large-scale pastoral projects including Pray 2010.
Msgr Meneely said Evangelisation Brisbane was “intended to be very practical in its support of parishes, priests, pastoral workers and parish councils in embracing the joy of the Gospel that is at the heart of Pope Francis’ message to the world”.
“Among key themes are simplicity of life and rediscovery of the excitement of the Gospel and Church’s traditions,” he said.
“In the coming year, the aim is to refocus some of our diocesan resources and energies into more practical support for parishes and people to become more missionary. We’ve been blessed with two leaders – Sr Kari and Mike – who are both very experienced in parish pastoral ministry and formation.
“They’ll also be supported by other team members, both new and experienced, in their task.”
Sr Hatherell will use experience from her 22 years of parish work to liaise with parishes as the new entity starts its mission.
She said Evangelisation Brisbane’s goal was to make concrete the Pope’s opening words in Evangelii Gaudium, where he invited Christians everywhere “to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ”.
“Pope Francis also speaks of the joy of the Gospel which fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus,” she said.
“He says this encounter is not meant for the few.
“In the coming months, we will be thinking, preparing, planning, praying to see how we can support the parishes in this.
“Pope Francis’ inspiration will guide us in various ways.”
Mr Humphrys, formerly a member of Faith and Life’s Everyday Mission team, said his new role would be to explore and implement ways of spiritual and faith formation to assist these encounters to happen.
“Pope Francis reminds us that our encounter with Christ leads to a freshness and energy for engagement with others and our world,” he said.
“This experience sparks a missionary impulse filled with joy.
“The hope of Evangelisation Brisbane is to find simple, creative and imaginative ways to respond to the Gospel, the living Gospel of encountering Jesus in the ordinariness of our lives.”
Msgr Meneely called on the whole archdiocese to become involved.
“We are in a new era,” he said.
“It’s not going to be much fun being a spectator.
“It will be much more interesting to be partners in what’s about to unfold in the Church and the world.”