Today you are invited to take two consultation papers.
The first is from Bishop John outlining a number of questions concerning the life and organization of the diocese. If you wish to respond to any of them, then please email the Bishop directly on firstname.lastname@example.org or write to him at Wardley Hall, Wardley Hall Road, Worsley, Manchester M28 2ND.
The second is from the Bishops Conference of England and Wales, seeking your thoughts on Marriage and Family life in 2015, as a part of the preparation for the Meeting (Synod) of Bishops in Rome in October. The parish has produced a questionnaire listing 6 questions posed by our Bishops. If you respond then do so as concisely as possible so that replies may easily be collated and forwarded to Bishop John. Responses must be returned within two weeks, by 15th March.
Now to another important matter. Did you know that according to the 2011 census around a quarter of the population of England and Wales reported that they have no religion? This represents some 14 million people, a number that has doubled since the 2001 census. Another sobering statistic is that over half the people who self-identify as Catholics have little or no contact with the Church. Surely something must be done to challenge this situation?
Pope Francis took the lead last year when he published Gaudium Evangelii (The joy of the Gospel). It is a wakeup call to the whole Church but particularly to the flagging Church in Western Europe. He proposes that we come together in prayer and in groups to examine how best we may share both the joy that the Gospel brings and our faith that gives meaning and purpose to life.
In response to this call our bishops have launched an initiative called Proclaim 15 which aims to inspire, support and encourage parishes to do just that.
We begin on Wednesday at 7.30pm in the Hall to look at what a relationship with Jesus means. Then on 18th March: what is a disciple of Jesus? and finally on 25thMarch: how do we share our story?
Come on: respond to Pope Francis and at the very least do it for Lent!