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Share the Good News

Share the Good News – Most Rev Kieran O’Reilly, Bishop of Killaloe and chair of the Implementation Committee

Among the many responsibilities I have as Bishop, one of the most recent I have taken on is being part of a committee that oversees the implementation of Share the Good News. Share the Good News is the national directory for catechesis in Ireland which was published just over a year ago by the bishops. Share the Good News is a ten year plan for Evangelisation, for Catechesis and for Religious Education and is a framework for reflection and action amongst Catholics in Ireland today.

The directory meets people in their own place because it comes from six years of listening and dialogue with followers of Christ across the island of Ireland. It is not a series of answers or programmes but instead points to the complete statement of faith, the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Principally it is a radical resource for adult faith development across many contexts.

Share the Good News addresses in a unified, coherent and co-ordinated manner many of the issues that are very pressing for the Church in Ireland today.  One of these is Catechesis – the process by which people are introduced to faith. My hope as Chair of the Implementation Committee is that as many adults as possible will engage with this document and make it their own – so that the next decade that the directory addresses will really be a time of renewed evangelisation and catechesis in Ireland.

I echo the words of Archbishop Martin at the launch of Share the Good News in January 2011:  Share the Good News is not a magic formula or a programme which can be launched in the way one would launch a sales push or a political platform.  Faith is a deeper matter; it is a matter of a deep encounter between the individual and God. The National Directory is directed to and must involve the entire Church in Ireland.  It is not a document entrusted to the catechetical establishment.  It is an invitation to break away from our current situation which is overly school-oriented and bring back into the picture in a more focussed way the central role of the parish and the family.  It is also a reminder that catechesis does not end with the Leaving Certificate”.

Share the Good News is also a call to action. The Implementation committee we are spending the next few months listening to people in faith communities. This listening is part of seeking to gain a greater understanding of how what is happening in parishes across Ireland can be seen in the directory. In this way, Share the Good News is also a call to understanding. It seeks to help members of the Church to speak confidently of the Gospel message which, in many ways, we are still only coming to know here in Ireland. It is an invitation to seek Christ, in parishes, dioceses, ecclesial movements and schools.

The committee is composed of people from diverse backgrounds and skills. Our meetings are vibrant and draw from a relational understanding of each other as Christians. It is not a star chamber of experts, waiting in the wings to descend from on high to dole out answers. The members of the committee are waiting to get active with the directory with people in many contexts. Share the Good News is a live document. Since its publication in January 2011, it has been the inspiration for many across Ireland to think anew about their Christian faith. Our deep-felt hope is that new ways of expressing our faith will renew us, contribute positively to the up-building of our communities and make Christ ever more real in the world.

Share the Good News is published by Veritas and is available in their shops nationwide and from www.veritas.ie.

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