Archbishops join together to spread the Gospel of Luke
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, and Archbishop John Neill, Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin and Glendalough, today (Monday 18th) launched a unique venture to spread the good news of the Gospel of Luke throughout their Dioceses. The launch took place in the chapel of Trinity College and for the first time in history of the chapel, the Archbishops’ gave a joint blessing.
Over the coming weeks and months, specially commissioned copies of the Gospel of Luke, will be distributed widely. This is the Church Liturgical year of St. Luke and it is the Gospel being read in churches throughout the year.
As part of the year of Evangelisation, this is the latest in a series of ecumenical initiatives spearheaded by both Archbishops. 100,000 copies of the Gospel of Luke have been commissioned for this project. It will be followed up with further resources to help people understand and pray the Gospel, including a DVD for families and children – “Luke the Book”. Both churches are planning a joint youth pilgrimage to Taizé, the ecumenical place of prayer in France, is planned for later in the year.
Speaking notes of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin, Primate of Ireland, at the launch of the Gospel Project in Trinity College Chapel, 18 January 2009
I am delighted that Archbishop John Neill and I share this project. I am delighted that this project is being launched on the first day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. I am delighted that the launch is taking place in this Chapel, with a history not always entirely ecumenical, but which today is a unique ecumenical presence in an environment which is secular in the better sense of the word. The Gospel belongs well within an atmosphere of research and of searching. The Gospel is a message of life. It is about Jesus Christ in whose life and ministry God reveals himself, comes out to meet us, to engage with us, to renew us through his self-giving love. God reveals himself in Jesus and he reveals us to ourselves.
This project to make the Gospel of Saint Luke better known is a truly ecumenical one. Our Churches share the great treasure of the word of God and the common responsibility to proclaim to all the good news of the saving activity of God revealed in the words and deeds of Jesus. The Gospels emerge from the Church and are entrusted to the Church. Knowledge of the scriptures is an essential dimension of being a Christian.
Luke set out in a sort of foreword to his Gospel how he sees his task. He speaks of many other writers who had gathered testimonies about Jesus. He wishes to gather in a connected narrative the traditions that were handed down to him by the original witnesses.
The apostles, as the theme of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity reminds us, were “to be witnesses to all these things”. That is the task of each Christian and of each Christian community today. The Gospel must be proclaimed and it must be witnessed to. The best evangelizer is one who is most truly a witness. But witness must also be truly rooted in the Gospel.
The Gospel was written so that people would get a closer understanding of who Jesus is and what impact he had on those who were his first witnesses, who had journeyed with him and with the guidance of the sprit grew in the fullness of the truth about Jesus.
These copies of the Gospel of Saint Luke – we are beginning with a print run of over 100,000 copies – are not being handed out to gather dust on a bookshelf. The Gospels are not something that you take up and read as a novel, straight from cover to cover. They are not books which you take up occasionally for momentary inspiration. My hope is that the distribution of the Gospel will be accompanied by a programme for aiding people to grow in their understanding of the Gospel. I hope that week after week people will take up and reflect on the Sunday Gospel reading. I would like to see a regular e-message to guide individuals and families as the year and the Gospel readings evolve.
The Roman Catholic Diocese in Dublin must also address the challenge of renewal. Renewal in the Church will not just be about structures or personnel. It will be about renewing ourselves, each one, Bishops, priests and lay persons, through the message of the Gospel and renewing our Church in the spirit of that mansuetudinis Christi, that kindness of God, which Luke set out to reveal.
This University houses the Book of Kells, an extraordinary cultural legacy and a symbol of the centrality of the scriptures in the early Irish Church. Renewal begins by going back to those biblical roots, through showing the relevance of the Scriptures in our culture and in our world. ENDS