News archive 2008

Cardinal Brady launches “The New Evangelisation, Priests and Laity, the Great Challenge of the New Millennium”

PRESS RELEASE
5 December 2008

Cardinal Brady launches “The New Evangelisation, Priests and Laity, the Great Challenge of the New Millennium”

Jury’s Hotel, Croke Park, Dublin

“The Catholic Church in Ireland has dedicated this year and half of 2009 as the “Year of Vocation”.  A theme of this special year complements the great challenge of this decade, which is: to hear again the Good News, brought by Jesus, the Good News about Jesus and to ask ourselves: ‘What is that Good News asking us to do?'” – Cardinal Brady

Cardinal Seán Brady, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, today launches the Legion of Mary publication The New Evangelisation, Priests and Laity, the Great Challenge of the New Millennium in Jury’s Hotel, Croke Park, Dublin.  Please see the Cardinal’s speaking notes below:

On 7 September 1921 a small group of people met in the Parish of St Nicholas of Myra, in this City.  They were motivated by their awareness of the Christian Vocation to bear witness to Christ in the World.  Under the leadership of the great Frank Duff, the Legion of Mary was founded.  During the next 40 years the Legion had grown into 60,000 active units in five continents.  I don’t know the current figures but I do know that within 40 years there were one million active members and nine million auxiliary members.

They were acclaimed for their marvellous work of Evangelisation and specifically for the work of helping people back to the Church.  The mustard seed had indeed grown into a huge tree.  By their fruits you shall know them.

As you are aware, the Catholic Church in Ireland has dedicated this year and half of 2009 as the “Year of Vocation”.  A theme of this special year complements the great challenge of this decade which is: to hear again the Good News, brought by Jesus, the Good News about Jesus and to ask ourselves: “What is that Good News asking us to do?”  This theme has long characterised the mission of the Legion of Mary.

I am delighted to be here to launch this book.  It is of course the text of the talks given at a Conference, on that same topic, held in Emmaus in May 2007.  Once again, I congratulate the Legion of Mary for organising that Conference.  You did so with typical alertness to the signs of the times.  The New Evangelisation was a favourite phrase of the late Pope John Paul II.  He used to emphasise that evangelisation means making known the Good News about Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ who came to offer to each one of us, the possibility of entering into a relationship of deep friendship with the Father.  It is a new evangelisation, not in the sense that there is anything new being said, but it is being said in a new way to a new generation with new ardour and new methods.

To speak to us about Evangelisation, the organisers invited along the Holy Father’s Church Minister for Evangelisation, Cardinal Ivan Dias, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of People.

Of course, once people hear the good of Jesus Christ, they realise that they themselves are called to share the life and love of God by means of Sacraments and to worship and praise God.  Hence the conference organisers invited Cardinal Arinze, the Church’s Minister of Divine Worship and the Sacraments, to speak on that all-important issue.

I came away from that conference filled with joy at the achievement of the Legion of Mary and with hope for the future, built on the devotion and dedication of those who attended.  My hope is that people will take up this book, read it, and think about what they find there.  In a time of economic recession and of doom and gloom, good news is a treasure.  That is what Evangelisation is all about, bringing good news.

I came away from the Synod of Bishops, which was hosted by the Holy Father in Rome in October, filled with the same sort of hope.  The hope that we will experience a new energy in the Church, a new enthusiasm for announcing the Good News about Jesus Christ – the same yesterday, today and forever – alive in His Church – source of hope for the world.

I suppose you could say that one thesis of this book The New Evangelisation, Priests and Laity, the Great Challenge of the New Millennium is that Christianity is the only way to the true and authentic joy.  I love the article by Fionnuala O’Kennedy focusing on examples of how the laity has been encouraged and mobilised by priests.  It is a great morale booster for us priests to read, I can tell you.  In her article, Fionnuala ventured to suggest that the Legion remains largely untried here in Ireland.  To the question: “What difference has association with members of the Legion meant to Fionnuala Kennedy?”  She says, “It has given me an awareness of my responsibility to share in the Mission of the Church.”

The book reminds us that St Vincent de Paul was one of the most formative influences in the life of Frank Duff.  The St Vincent de Paul Society always comes into the news at this time of the year and I think it is particularly urgent that we listen to their appeals – especially in this year – when so many vulnerable people are in danger of suffering because of poverty, and many experiencing this difficulty for the first time.

The work of evangelisation is a task for the whole Church.  The October Synod of Bishops repeated this objective, when it said: “The mission to announce the Word of God is the responsibility of all disciples of Jesus Christ, as a consequence of their baptism.”  This awareness must be deepened in every parish, every community and Catholic organisation; initiatives must be proposed that allow the Word of God to reach everyone, especially to those brothers and sisters who are baptised but not sufficiently evangelised.  Since the Word of God became flesh, in order to communicate itself to all people, a privileged way of coming to know it is through encounter with witnesses who render it present and alive.

The organisers assembled a very competent and learned group of speakers who not only knew about Frank Duff and the Legion of Mary but they understood the spirituality that lies behind the priesthood, and evangelisation.  So, I really do hope that people will take up this book and read it and pray it.

In Ireland we don’t really appreciate the contribution we have made to the Catholic Church in various eras.  Last Saturday evening in Carlow, we celebrated the final day of their commemoration of the 175th anniversary of the beautiful Cathedral of the Assumption in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin.  The college next door gave more than 3,000 priests to the missionary life of the Church.  The Legion of Mary has given so much to the world.  I think we should really reflect on it and say, “My soul glorifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, He who is mighty has done great things for me and holy is His name.”  I really do hope that people will take this message on board.

Finally, I wish to congratulate Tommy McCabe and the Concilium and Fr Bede, the Spiritual Director, who planned and carried out this conference which was held in May last year, and for reproducing the conference papers in today’s book.  May God bless you all.

ENDS

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