Sharing the HopeWednesday 5th October 2022
Last night, Hope in the Future Stage Five – ‘Sharing the Hope’ officially launched. The launch event took place at Saint John Henry Newman Catholic College, Oldham.
It’s been 5 years since the launch of the Hope in the Future Programme in October 2017. Much has happened during that time: since 2017, parishes around the diocese have engaged in prayer, celebration and discernment in collaboration with schools, across a great range of events, sacramental programmes and community outreach work.
This year as we embark on the fifth and final stage, entitled ‘Sharing the Hope’, we’re turning our attention to putting our faith into action through caring for those most in need in our local area, and caring for our common home.
There were several stalls set up before the event to showcase the social action organisations of our diocese.
The event began with a prayer and commissioning service from Bishop John. He spoke of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians and his assertion that we are ‘ambassadors for Christ’:
“We are ambassadors for Christ – wherever we are, whatever we’re doing, that is the privilege and the challenge of our lives. I believe that hope in the future in our diocese has caused us to think very carefully about what it is to be Church today; to think about the gifts and talents that we have, the way we feed those through our liturgy and our organisation in our parishes, so that we may be missionary disciples.”
Bishop John also challenged us to get out of our comfort zones, to not ignore family and friends who have grown apart from our faith: “are we going to walk with them even while they’re walking away from the church?”.
You can listen to Bishop John’s reflection in full below.
Fr Gerald Murphy, Episcopal Vicar for Caritas, then spoke of his personal outlook on sharing the hope – detailing how he always says to parishioners to “go in peace, glorifying the lord in your lives”, a call to his congregation to share the hope and love of God through their actions.
Then followed the keynote address from Raymond Friel OBE, CEO of CSAN, who gave a compelling talk on Catholic Social Teaching, with love at its root. He spoke of Pope Francis’s understanding of ‘solidarity’ and its application to our everyday lives. You can watch the entire talk here.
The final speaker was Patrick O’Dowd, Director of Caritas Salford, who gave a powerful overview of Caritas’s crucial work in Salford, the process of listening to the people Caritas helps, and how this is motivated by a desire to share the hope across the diocese.
As Stage Five begins, we look forward to building on existing outreach and resourcing and providing new opportunities for our parishes to be beacons of hope within their local area.
As we enter the final stage of Hope in the Future, we now have a programme that has resources for parishes wherever they are at this time. Some parishes may have started Stage 5, others may just be looking to get started. For more information wherever you and your parish are please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0161 817 2214.
To find out more about the social action work Caritas does in our diocese, click here.