At the moment there are many reasons to be despondent. There are many black clouds, We look at the state of economy, bailouts, corruption, unemployment and most people seem to have less than they had before. We look at the Church, so many have caused hurt and scandal. So many people have walked away. We look at society and we see crime, disharmony, addictions, the news seems more scary day after day. But is this the full picture? No it is not!!
There are many more reasons to be full of hope. To be optimistic, positive and indeed joyful. For the Christian faith is full of hope. The reason for our hope is the resurrection. As Jesus was dying on the cross, feeling totally abandoned by his Father, all was utterly hopeless. However it was then that that same Father renewed all creation by accepting the self sacrifice of His Son. The Fathers answer was the resurrection.
Faith in the resurrection is the source of our hope. As Christians, as followers of the risen Jesus, as people full of hope, we are called to bring that hope to others. We are all called to be missionaries. We are all called to bring the light of Christ to all whom we meet.
This month in our Parish of Maynooth and Ladychapel we are inviting everyone to spend some time reflecting on what it means really be a Christian, to be a person full of hope, to be someone who is involved in mission: mission in our daily lives; mission in our involvement in parish or schools, community or places of work: mission in support of those working for the most vulnerable in our world: mission in terms of bringing the Gospel of Christ to our world.
During the four Sundays of October we have presentations on different aspects of mission.
1st Sunday of October Graínne O’Rourke, a parishioner and teacher in Maynooth Post Primary School will share her recent experience of working in a ‘mission’ with SMA priests in South Africa. She taught in a very rural village called Supingstad close to the Botswana border and helped to build traditional African houses in a town called Zeerust.
2nd Sunday of October Inspired by the image Jesus used in John’s Gospel, “I am the vine, you are the branches”, we will focus on the groups and activities involved in the home mission in our parish as it is today
3rd Sunday of October Mission Sunday Sr. Mags O’Shea will present her understanding of mission and the connection between the overseas mission and home mission. Sr. Mags is a Loreto Sister originally from Kilkennny, who knows Maynooth as she studied in the university here. She has worked in Columbia in South America and in Southern Sudan in Africa. She is currently teaching in Ireland.
4th Sunday of October Fr. David Halpin will ask the question of where next could mission lead our parish? Where are the gaps in our mission to date? Where would we as a parish like to get to in terms of truly being missionaries of the Gospel of Christ?
During the month we will be inviting everyone to have a say. A suggestion box will be available in St. Mary’s and in Ladychapel where you can contribute your views, and suggestions.
We hope this month of reflection on mission will be a real opportunity for growth in our parish. That it will help us to become more and more a living growing community with a greater sense of our mission as Christians. In November we will invite you to come to a gathering where we will take stock of our reflections. Perhaps we will discover there are neglected areas of our parish mission. Perhaps we will discover there are new areas of mission that we ought and need to get involved in. Perhaps we will discover the Spirit of God is leading us to grow in new directions. Let us be open to that Spirit of God. It is envisaged that this month of reflection and exploration on mission will lead to concrete outcomes. Perhaps this will mean the establishment of new groups in our parish. Groups what will enhance the mission of the parish locally and also further away. Let us invite the Spirit of God to guide our reflections so that they will lead to actions that build up the kingdom of God.
This month is an opportunity for us as a parish community to reconnect with the hope of the Christian message and to be open to where the Spirit leads us in our endeavour to Grow Mission Alive.