By Archbishop Julian Porteous

When we stop and think, we all realise that our Catholic faith is something precious; it is a treasure; it is a blessing. However, it is probably also true that we have not considered enough the ways in which our faith contributes to our life. For each of us our faith has not only shaped our way of life, influenced many of our decisions, given us hope and consolation in times of difficulty, it has also been the source of God’s grace in our lives.

In his first Apostolic Exhortation, The Joy of Gospel, Pope Francis reminded us of how an encounter with Jesus Christ changes our lives. Coming into a personal relationship with Jesus fills us with joy. He said, “The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew”.

The Evangelium initiative, which commences on 24 May, is designed to enable us to discover afresh the wonderful ways in which God moves in our lives. St Paul said that we are all “God’s work of art”. (Eph 2:10) Looking back over our lives we can see that God has been an active agent in our life in all sorts of ways. We easily forget all that God has done for us. Seeing anew what God has done fills us with gratitude and joy.

This Evangelium initiative is an opportunity to journey with a group of fellow Catholics deeper into our faith. It will inflame your heart with a new awareness of the grace and mercy of God which has formed you into who you have become as a believing and practicing Catholic.

The first session will, over a five-week period, be a personal journey of the heart. It will be a time of grace in which your relationship with God will be deepened. It is made up of a one hourly weekly meeting over each of these five weeks. Most participants will meet in hubs in the warmth and friendliness of homes. It will also build up our relationships with one another, something so missed during the pandemic restrictions.

I invite you to participate in Evangelium. You will learn more about the initiative by accessing the website on www.evangeliumproject.com and be shown how you can participate.

I encourage all Catholics to engage in this fresh and exciting experience of discovering more deeply the works of God in our lives and finding new joy in being a Catholic.

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