Parishes begin the Hope in the Future JourneyTuesday 5th December 2017
On 4th October, the feast day of St Francis of Assisi, Bishop John launched a major initiative – Hope in the Future- for the renewal of the Diocese of Salford. Bishop John’s hope, inspired by the teaching of Pope Francis, is that parishes will now be encouraged to develop a more missionary character.
The first stage of this new development is that each parish is asked to recognise and celebrate all that is already taking place in terms of the three key words, “Welcome”, “Engagement”, and “Outreach”. Already, we have parishioners, and parish groups, who are bringing the gospel to others in many different forms of service.
Last weekend, on the First Sunday of Advent, those parishes who have started on the journey gave thanks to God for all the ministries and activities which express our desire to be a people of service to the parish community and beyond. There were some great ideas from across the Diocese.
We have just a few to highlight here:
The Parish of our Lady and St Gerard Majella in Lostock Hall had Afternoon Tea for all their volunteers as a thank you for all their help and as an introduction to them of Hope in the Future, they had over 130 attend!
St Boniface’s, Lower Broughton launched Hope in the Future as a celebration of St Boniface’s past, present and future. The B you see in the photo is in three sections, two people carried each part up to the altar with a corresponding symbol and read a prayer and gradually the B was assembled. The three B’s were for:
Boniface representing the parishes foundation and background and general community;
Body and Blood for the actual work and participation for the mass;
and Be for the future.
St John Fisher Parish in Kearsley launched Hope in the Future on the same day as their Christmas Fayre. They are following up in the next few months by arranging events to reach out to others including a carol service at Forest Bank Prison. Additionally rather than sending Christmas cards parishioners are asked to just send one to go on a publically displayed tree, and have a donation box for the money saved on postage and cards. The money saved will be donated to the Salvation Army to give a homeless person a meal and a bed for Christmas Day.
Hope in the Future launch at St Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton took the format of a Jigsaw that was created by pupils from the Primary School. Each piece of the jigsaw represents one of the parish ministries:
A representative from each ministry brought a piece of the jigsaw to the altar and placed it on the image of the San Damiano cross to symbolise the unity in the parish.
St Mary’s Bamber Bridge chose to focus on trees, which are very much part of the tradition of Bamber Bridge. To celebrate the life of St Mary’s they created “The Brownedge Parish Tree”. It will follow the idea of the “Jesse Tree”, a tree which grows in life during Advent until it flourishes into a Christmas tree. The Brownedge Tree will be decorative tree which will be adorned with fifty small crosses, each labelled with a different group or aspect of parish life. Parishioners were asked to place the crosses onto the tree at Sunday Masses for the First Sunday of Advent, thus creating “The Brownedge Parish Tree”.