Plenary Council 2020 – Invite a distant relative to the conversation!

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Home > Media > News > Plenary Council 2020 – Invite a distant relative to the conversation!
Plenary Council 2020 – Invite a distant relative to the conversation!

By Michael McKenna, Plenary 2020 Executive Secretary for the Archdiocese of Hobart

It’s that time of year again where the wider Catholic family, including those understood in the vernacular as “Christmas and Easter Catholics”, gather to celebrate the saviour’s birth. And if you are one of my too often distant relatives let me say we’ve been praying for you, we’re so very glad to see you, and we have much to talk about!

In some ways Christmas attendance highlights a paradox: Catholics value faith, but large numbers do not presently value parish involvement. Predictably, observers may suggest that the Christmas spike in attendance has little religious significance, reflecting instead a traditional practice of secularised, cultural Catholics. And this may even to some extent find expression in that those who profess no religion seem nevertheless to attend Church on Christmas Day.

Either way, as one Catholic bishop in England recently implored the faithful of his diocese:  
“Beg the Lord to pour out His Holy Spirit this Christmas on those who do not regularly practise their faith. Beg Him to give them a glimpse of the joy of the Gospel. Beg Him through their guardian angels and patron saints to rouse up within their hearts a passionate desire to be in full communion with Christ and His Church. Pray for this intention every day over the next few weeks. Offer the rosary for this and frequently pay visits to church to Jesus, present and active in the Blessed Sacrament.”

Like in any family, when even one person is missing the family does not feel complete. And we know that often the longer family members are absent the harder it can be for them to find their way home to us. The bishop’s plea is a sober reminder that just as at family celebrations this Christmas we will amidst the excitement of reunion invariably ponder how we might do better at being ‘family’, so too ought we not do well to prayerfully ponder how we might do better at being ‘Church’!

The Plenary Council listening and dialogue process in our diocese is precisely that conversation… How might our Heavenly Father have us do better at being His Church on Earth? As the family returns home this Christmas and our parishes fill to overflowing we need to encourage ALL of the family to join in this important family discussion. Look for the information postcards provided in your parish and invite a distant relative to the conversation!