By Emilie Ng
POPE Francis’ “warm smile” and “joyful face” were among some of the leadership traits pointed out by Catholic lay and religious leaders at Catholic Mission’s Brisbane Colloquium on April 28.
Mission and evangelisation leaders from across the Brisbane archdiocese and beyond gathered to talk about the “Pope Francis effect” and discuss ways to practically live the Holy Father’s call to be “missionary disciples”.
The colloquium encouraged participants to discuss ways to live Pope Francis’ first exhortation,The Joy of the Gospel, in their communities, workplaces, and personal lives.
The day was based on the book produced by Catholic Mission and Catholic Religious Australia, The Francis Effect: Living the Joy of the Gospel.
Columban Father Noel Connolly gave the keynote address, analysing the Holy Father’s leadership style and challenges for the Church.
Fr Connolly said Pope Francis challenged the Church to be warmer and more loving, especially towards the poor.
“The challenge for us is are we still a Church capable of warming hearts?” he said.
“We can’t convert the world if it doesn’t like us.”
Local Brisbane leaders from education, Church agencies and parish communities led a discussion panel on living and leading mission.
55 comms chief executive officer and former The Courier-Mail editor Michael Crutcher said Pope Francis had the courage to lead discussion that “nobody else has touched”.
Mr Crutcher said the Pope was engaging Catholics and the world with a new approach to the Gospel message.
He also said Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge’s presence mirrored the Holy Father’s engagement with the Church.
“He is among the most impressive leaders I have met, including from politics, and his cut-through style, sense of humour and knowledge are rare at a leadership level,” Mr Crutcher said.
“He has shown he knows how to engage in striking fashion.”
Evangelisation Brisbane Mission team leader Sr Kari Hatherell said Pope Francis was calling the Church back to the importance of parish life in Evangelii Gaudium.
“The parish environment is often the first environment where encounters with other Catholics happens,” she said.
Australia Catholic University’s national campus ministry manager Mark Lysaght said prayer was at the heart of living the Gospel, and part of the focus at ACU’s Brisbane campus.
Mount Alvernia College deputy principal Allison Stone said Pope Francis reminded us that the Church needed to listen to all its members and stressed the importance of listening to young men and women.
“Pope Francis reminds us that Catholic educators require joy,” she said.
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