The second extract from Pope Francis’ letter Gaudete Exsultate (Rejoice and be Glad)
The Holy Spirit bestows holiness in abundance among God’s holy and faithful people… I contemplate the holiness present in the patience of God’s people: in parents who raise their children with immense love, men and women who work hard to support their families, the sick, elderly religious who never lose their smile. In their daily perseverance I see the holiness of the Church militant. Very often it is a holiness found in our next-door neighbours, those who, living in our midst, reflect God’s presence.
Holiness is the most attractive face of the Church. But even outside the Catholic Church and in very different contexts, the Holy Spirit raises up “signs of his presence which help Christ’s followers”. St John Paul II reminded us that “the witness to Christ borne even to the shedding of blood has become a common inheritance of Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans and Protestants”. He stated that the martyrs (particularly of the last century) are “a heritage which speaks more powerfully than all the causes of division”.
Points to ponder or discuss: Where in my neighbourhood do I see signs of holiness?
As you are aware, three years ago it was decided to delay the age at which children receive the sacrament of Confirmation. After consultation and discussion, the Bishop has decided that Confirmation will be offered to Year 8 pupils, but that the preparation for this will begin in year 6 (after the dreaded SATS) and continue on through year 7 until Easter/Pentecost of Year 8. So, our present Year 6 pupils will be invited to begin their preparation in June this year with a view to receiving the sacrament in 2021. The proposed scheme is quite imaginative, involving community based activities and it certainly will not be restricted to the desk or classroom. Full details are to be published in the near future.
I mention all this now so that we may begin to enlist volunteers to help run the scheme. Please consider this and do not fear – training will be provided. So, if you are interested to learn more then watch this space or have a word with me.