Make prayer a priority for the New EvangelisationCatholics in the Diocese of Shrewsbury are to be invited to respond to the challenges posed by the rapid secularisation of society by becoming active in the “New Evangelisation” that has been proposed by Blessed Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI.
In a pastoral letter to be read out in churches across the diocese during Masses for the First Sunday of Advent, the Rt Rev. Mark Davies, the Bishop of Shrewsbury, will tell Catholics that both the future of the Church and the Christian character of the country will depend on the willingness of each of them to bear witness to Our Lord and His Gospel in their own lives.
He will say that the call to a New Evangelisation comes in recognition by the Church that the changing situation of life in the early 21st century, particularly in the West, demanded a “new response from us all”.
There was no strategy or long-term plan for this enterprise, the Bishop will explain, but that the success of the New Evangelisation would depend instead on deliberate commitments by each person to a “renewed love for Christ”.
First and foremost the New Evangelisation must be rooted in prayer, Bishop Davies will say, which the faithful must make a priority. For this reason, Year of Faith prayer cards are being published by the diocese and they will be distributed throughout churches during Advent and Christmas.
Bishop Mark Davies will say: “The Christmas celebration reminds us that Christianity lies at the foundation of our nation’s life. And yet, we are also aware that, of those 72 per cent of British people who declare themselves as ‘Christian’, so many are no longer actively part of a church or share a living faith. We see the Christian foundations of our society being challenged as never before, whether on questions concerning the sanctity of human life or the very identity of marriage.
“Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict, invites us to respond to this challenging situation by nothing less than a New Evangelisation.”
The Bishop adds: “In the Diocese, we are setting up new commissions, and organising courses and conferences to help us meet this challenge. I realise, however, that what matters most is the influence of the lives of each one of you, and how you give witness to your Catholic faith amidst the difficult circumstances of our time. This must surely begin with prayer, much prayer.”