Archbishop’s March Message: The “Now” of God
(1) WORLD YOUTH DAY, PANAMA (22-27 JANUARY 2019)
At the concluding Mass of W.Y.D. Panama, Pope Francis spoke directly to over 700,000 youth from throughout the Catholic world. He mentioned that some described youth as the “future” of the Church. He disagreed. Our God is not simply the future God – he is the God of the NOW. Youth are the now of the Church, preached the Pope.
Their contribution does not need to wait until some nebulous future moment to ignite. It is a now contribution. Our own youth delegation from the Archdiocese resonated with this insight strongly. When we look at the contribution they are already making for example as Catholic schoolteachers and youth leaders, I heartily agree with this NOW focus of our youth.
If the wonderful youth whom I spent an intensive two weeks with as a fellow pilgrim at W.Y.D. are any indication, then our youth ministry is now in the hands of faith filled and Holy Spirit led leaders. Thank you, Lord Jesus!
(2) PLENARY COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA – STAGE 1
Stage one of our common journey in the Plenary Council is concluding (6 March 2019). This has been the stage of intensive listening and dialogue sessions.
I wish to thank sincerely the very many groups in the Archdiocese who have earnestly participated in this first stage and have now submitted their responses to the national office.
Soon the second stage will commence. This will be the follow up to the analysis given to the submissions of stage one. These will be professionally analysed to identify emerging themes and undergo a theological reflection.
Maybe it is still not too late to submit your group’s reflections. However, please Hurry. Now is the time.
Let us pray for the presence of the Holy Spirit to imbue the entire process with love, unity and truth in these now moments.
(3) LENT 2019
This year Lent begins a little later than last year. Ash Wednesday 2019, the beginning of the Lenten Season, is 6 March.
Our ancient tradition views Lent as our liturgical season of conversion and repentance as we Journey toward the Easter Mysteries of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus. It is a NOW time to open ourselves up to the merciful embrace of our Loving Saviour, Jesus.
As always, I encourage all our parishes and communities to enter fulsomely into this important liturgical season. Gathering for scriptural prayer groups, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the devout reception of the Sacrament of Penance (Confession), Masses and devotional practises are to be emphasised. Equally important is our attentiveness to the poor and oppressed in our communities. Practical charity is an essential dimension of this penitential season. The now of God as the call to charity “shouts out” in the needy and lonely. An important expression of this is Project Compassion. There we find Jesus in the here and now. Let us not forget also the importance of fasting as a real form of prayer.
I have every confidence that you will enter into Lent with zeal and trust in the Lord.
Let us ask Mary, our Heavenly Mother, to guide us to her Crucified and Risen Son, Jesus, Our Lord and Redeemer.
Archbishop Christopher Prowse
Catholic Archbishop of Canberra-Goulburn