Evangelise Australia :: Issue 9 :: May 2012
Subject: Evangelise Australia :: Issue 9 :: May 2012
Send date: 2012-04-24 00:13:01
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Issue 9 :: May 2012

Inspiration

‘Our Christian communities must become genuine “schools” of prayer, where the meeting with Christ is expressed not just in imploring help but also in thanksgiving, praise, adoration, contemplation, listening and ardent devotion, until the heart truly “falls in love”.’ - Bl John Paul II (Novo Millennio Ineunte)

God Himself has given us the ability to be this open to grace, resulting in becoming still further receptive to His work in us, until we become vessels streaming grace.

From the Bishops

A Year of Grace

For several years the Bishops have been reflecting deeply on the life of the Church in Australia. We have asked how we can better serve the needs of you, God’s faithful people, in bringing the peace and good news of Jesus Christ to our nation. We recognise, firstly, God’s abundant blessings to us.

We also acknowledge with sadness that we are a Church in need of healing. Most deeply, we desire for the light of Christ to burn more brightly in the heart of each Australian.

As Bishops, we asked ourselves where we can turn with so many issues confronting us. Our response in faith is to “start afresh from Christ”. We make this call, firstly and most urgently, to ourselves as Bishops. We are resolved, in the words of Pope John Paul II, to “contemplate the face of Christ”. Both these phrases come from his Apostolic Letter, Novo Millennio Ineunte (At the Beginning of the New Millennium), and we use this Letter as our guide and inspiration.

As we address this challenge to ourselves, we invite you to walk this journey with us in hope.

We commit ourselves to pray daily, seeking the mind and heart of Jesus Christ. We commit ourselves to repent for the areas in which we have failed, individually and together, seeking healing and renewal through the grace of Christ’s forgiveness. We commit ourselves to the path of holiness, cultivating the many gifts of the Spirit and seeking to grow as disciples of Jesus. We entrust this year to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and through this renewed commitment, we are confident that the Church in Australia will be transformed by the power of Christ’s resurrection in our lives.

We invite you to join us in this journey of prayer so that this “Pentecost” year will be for our nation and all Australians truly a “year of grace”.

Your brother in Christ,
Archbishop Philip Wilson

(This was taken from the Pastoral Letter for the Year of Grace. For the full letter, see yearofgrace.catholic.org.au)

Testimony of Faith

What is your testimony?

Sharing the stories of how we have experienced God’s grace at work in our lives is a vital part of our universal call to evangelise. How many times, though, have you heard someone share their story of God’s intervening grace? How many times have you shared yours? Perhaps, during this Year of Grace, we can take the opportunity to share more openly and readily with one another, particularly those who do not know Christ, stories of His saving action in our lives.

St Peter tells us: “always have your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Pt 3:15). Practically, how can we do this? A while ago, I was taught how to blitz a job interview. Among many invaluable hints, I was told to have a “signature story” prepared, something that would impress a prospective employer, and be sure to tell it. How much more important it is to make known Jesus, and how great He is!

So pray and reflect: to find God’s “signature story” in your life, identify a point where an encounter with Him changed you. Give this moment as much sensory detail as possible, recreating the experience. Then think about what life was like before – those who have not encountered God will find here a point of reference: if they are going to relate to your story, this is the place. Now look at life after the encounter: what has changed? This is what your hearers will be drawn to. Make it 3 minutes, ready to tell in any situation. If you can add an invitation to respond to God, even better.

In this model we see our “need for healing”, “God’s abundant blessings”, and “the light of Christ…burn[ing] more brightly” that Archbishop Wilson mentioned. You may never have quite the opportunities St Paul had (see Acts 22 & 26 for his testimony), but every opportunity counts to give your answer for the hope that is in you, and share the grace God so freely gives. God only knows how many lives will be changed.

- Aaron Reefman

If you have a story of how God has brought you back to Himself, and would like to share it in a following issue of this newsletter, please contact us.

Upcoming events

May 2012

  • 4-6 May - Sisterhood Conference
    Annual Catholic women's conference. Collaroy, NSW. See sisterhood.org.au
  • 15 May - Urban Evangelisation
    Featuring Bishop Julian Porteus as speaker. Lidcombe, NSW. See credosydney.org
  • 19 May - Reachout
    Praise & worship, drama, talk, adoration, reconciliation. Lewisham, NSW. See immaculatacommunity.org

June 2012

Do you want more people coming to your events? We would love to promote your event here but we won’t know about it unless you tell us. Contact us with your event information for free promotion!

Prayer

Gracious God,
You have blessed this ancient land with many gifts, especially its people.
We thank you for the Year of Grace, a time to start afresh from Christ.
You invite us to contemplate the face of Jesus your Son, that we may experience a new wave of grace, and that the light of Christ may burn more brightly in our lives.
Attune our hearts and minds to the presence of your Holy Spirit,
that our Church may be transformed, our relationships be healed, and our nation grow in compassion and justice.
With the intercession of St Mary MacKillop, who showed us new ways of living the Gospel,
we make our prayer through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

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National Office for Evangelisation
An Agency of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference
National Office for Evangelisation
PO Box 415, Crows Nest NSW 1585
Phone: 1300 4 FAITH (1300 432 484) Fax: (02) 9211 4470 info@evangeliseaustralia.com