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Well, it’s been an intensive few weeks with Called and Gifted, and final stages of readying the Confirmation programme. I am more than excited to be going on holiday tomorrow morning! I’ll be heading down to Lake Konstance in the south of Germany with friends from London. A few of us went this time three years ago, only with no babies… This time we’ll have three with us! Somehow I have a feeling this holiday will be slightly different 🙂 Despite the undoubted babysitting duties, we are all looking forward to a week in the sun, swimming in the lake, relaxing, and having some fun. Bring it on!
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Speaking of the Confirmation programme, for months and months, whenever someone has asked me “how it’s coming on?” I’ve asked them to pray, because, truth be told, it’s an enormous task. It is so, so exciting to be reaching the end (and I’ve had some really fabulous proof-readers) and at the moment we’re working on final amends. What a project! Almost every family member and countless friends have been roped in to help in some way, so it’s a product of the communion of the Church in many ways. I cannot wait to present the finished product! (All going to plan, it will be available to buy next month.)
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Collette has written an utterly brilliant post on the Evangelising Disciple. We are hearing so much about new evangelisation and intentional discipleship (especially in the Diocese of Portsmouth!), and yet we often need vivid, concrete pictures of what this actually means. In my experience, there is still a small number of Catholics – priests and lay – who really get it. Essentially it means a massive shift in culture, and this is frightening to many. We can only start with our own outlook, and that’s why I love this post and its emphasis on friendship.
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In Forming Intentional Disciples, Sherry Weddell speaks of a “spiral of silence” we often find in parishes. It is not “normal” for people to speak about their relationship with Christ. A friend commented to me recently that it is much easier to evangelise in a non-Catholic workplace than a “Catholic” one, because at least in a non-Catholic workplace you might find colleagues with questions, who show curiosity. In a Catholic workplace, it can often be presumed that everyone is Catholic and no questions are asked. This was interesting to me. Sometimes, too, it can be easier to speak about Jesus and the faith with friends outside the parish, than those inside! This all seems terribly upside-down. But in my city, I’m beginning to see some changes… Since Called and Gifted, and since the various adult formation programmes we’ve run at the cathedral this year, there is definitely something different in the air. It feels like people are coming out of the shadows and daring to speak about their relationship with God. In the last two or three weeks, I have had some deeply moving conversations with people, where they have shared honestly about where they are in their relationship with God. I am amazed at providence, and how these people keep showing up! It is almost as if they now “have permission”. It’s getting to be more “normal”. Not only this, but the number of times I have prayed spontaneously with a group, or with one other person, in the last month or so, is remarkable. This only happens when we realise that God is powerful and hears our prayers, right?! Praise be to God for all his wonders!