mercy

Current Initiatives

Pope Francis calls us to be, “Missionary disciples”. Every missionary disciple needs to have a personal sense of discipleship with the Lord. It is this that will impel them to look outward to proclaiming the Risen Lord to others through whatever “encounters” they have, be they planned or in the course of their everyday life.

FORMING INTENTIONAL DISCIPLES

Across the Diocese, more than 400 parishioners are currently taking part in a programme using a book called, “Forming Intentional Disciples” by Sherry Weddell with great effect and extraordinary results. The programme takes the individual on a personal journey of exploration into their own faith, seeking to give a fuller sense of personal discipleship and to equip them to more wisely discern ways of evangelising with a deeper empathy for where the person they encounter may be in their own spiritual journey.

Intentional Disciples Workshop Format
- PRAYER: before and after, preferably before the Blessed Sacrament. All evangelisation efforts need to be saturated in prayer.
- INVITE participants to purchase the book and issue Discipleship Prayer (link*) Aids commitment and therefore participation (Order books from the Vicariate/Field Worker.)
- COMMIT to six consecutive weeks.
- ASK participants to read 2 chapters per week prior to the meetings.
- DURING WORKSHOPS a facilitator invites each participant to offer 1 comment only on each chapter (participants limited to 3 minutes maximum). Simply ask, “what did I learn/get from this chapter?”
- FACILITATOR to invite all those present to comment if they wish to, but is advised to invite participants randomly rather than go round clockwise/anti-clockwise. This aids more equal yet lively participation.
- NO DISCUSSION. This discipline teaches people to listen to others and their different points of view (major principle in actual evangelisation). It also negates judgment from, or domination by, any one individual and creates an atmosphere where everyone can freely contribute. It also encourages participants to personally explore the opinions of others without being unduly influenced.
- MAXIMUM of 15 in any one group. If necessary run parallel groups the same evening with their own facilitator then come together in prayer at the end.
- FINISH with 10 minutes of prayer, before the Blessed Sacrament.

Mercy Mission

During the Jubilee Year of Mercy (commencing Dec 8, 2015) it is hoped that each parish will endeavour to live out this sentiment of Pope Francis: “How much I desire that the year to come will be steeped in mercy, so that we go out to every man and woman, bringing the goodness and tenderness of God. May the balm of mercy reach everyone …” (M.V.5)
With this in mind, every parish in the diocese is encouraged to visit all its known Catholic parishioners, delivering in person a CTS ‘Year of Mercy’ leaflet entitled, “Preparing for the Journey”, and also a Divine Mercy prayer card especially produced for the mission.

The benefits that can flow from these visits are manifold. Here are a few:
- Systematic parishioner visitation is one of the best tried and tested ways of affirming parishioners in their faith and making them feel a real part of the parish community.
- Building on and adapting Pope Francis’ idea of, “I intend to send out Missionaries of Mercy. They will be a sign of the Church’s maternal solicitude for the people of God” (M.V.18), the parish evangelisation team, along with volunteers to specifically help in this task, “will be missionaries of mercy because they will be facilitators of a truly human encounter”. Every encounter at a doorstep is open to the countless possibilities that the Holy Spirit can create and can foster opportunities for both spiritual and corporal works of mercy.
- 75% of the Catholic population in any one parish are non-church going. This Year of Mercy initiative will mean they receive a visit after maybe many years of non-contact, letting them know they are not forgotten. A personal yet sensitive invitation to return to Mass and the sacraments can be offered.
- To those who are church-going, a personal visit still says so much. It can create opportunities to talk and connect with those we see at Mass each week but never get around to speaking with.
- The Divine Mercy prayer card and image, rooted in a devotion which is now a universal feast day, is invested with a grace renowned for repentance, renewal and conversion. It would be wonderful to think that every household in the diocese will receive this.
- An updated and more accurate census of parishioners would automatically be achieved, which more easily facilitates further future contacts.

The invitation to take part in these initiatives is open to everyone all you need is faith and love in your heart. There are team leaders in place ranging in age from 17 - 70 and we encourage you to enquire at your local parish to get involved.