CARDINAL SEAN BRADY
THE PEOPLE OF
THE ARCHDIOCESE OF ARMAGH
6 FEBRUARY 2005
Lent is with us once more. Next Wednesday is Ash Wednesday. It is a day when we pray for the blessing of God’s forgiveness and the gift of light to see things more clearly and to recognise that we are sinners. Lent is a time when we learn to see God’s truth, love and mercy revealed in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In His life the healing and transforming love of God was fully at work. He went about doing good. As Christians each of us is called to continue the work of Christ in the world.
Last November, the clergy of the Diocese spent three days in conference in Bundoran. You might say we were examining the signs of the times. We were also gratefully remembering the past, trying to live in the present, whilst looking forward to the future with confidence. In all of this the source of our confidence is always Jesus Christ. He has promised to be with His followers to the end of the age.
The Church tries to watch the signs of the changing times, so as to discover what these signs are saying, and to respond to them effectively and with imagination. This involves directing our thoughts to the future, which lies before us. It also involves change. Change is not always easy or comfortable – but change is often essential.
This Lent, everyone who is interested will have the opportunity to take part in a forum to discuss the formation of an action plan to address the pastoral needs of the Diocese. Regional meetings are being planned throughout the entire Diocese. These will offer everyone the chance to contribute to this process.
I would encourage as many as possible to play their part in contributing to our discussions. I know from past experience how generously you have responded with your time, commitment and generosity to various initiatives at diocesan and parish level. Once again I invite you to collaborate in this exciting project; to play your part in contributing to the discussions so that we can all look forward to an effective and realistic course of action.
One day, after speaking to the crowds from Peter’s boat, Jesus asked Peter to put out into the deep sea. Putting out into the deep meant a change of plan for Peter and his companions. They had worked all night but had caught nothing. In fact, they had left their boats and, dejected and depressed, were already washing their nets. In other words they were about to call it a day. Yet Peter had such trust in the words of Christ that he changed his plans on the spot. The result – they caught a great number of fish.
It is cliché to say that we live in a time of immense and ceaseless change, very fast change. Change can be exciting, sometimes risky, always different.
It is in an effort to read the signs of the times and plan for the future that we are holding regional meetings to which you are invited. You will be asked to identify what you see as the key actions we need to engage in together in the next three years in order to continue the work of Christ in the world and in this Diocese
I pray every blessing upon you this Lent and I look forward to the receiving the fruits of your discussions.