Year of Mission 2017-18
At the beginning of 2017 Bishop Declan wrote a pastoral letter asking all the people of the Diocese to reflect with him on the future. A large number of responses came from individuals, parishes, deaneries, schools and religious, including a good number from the Salisbury Catholic community.
All the responses were read and informed our pastoral guidelines 'A Future Full of Hope'. These pastoral guidelines sets out a roadmap for the next three years.
Each of the three years will focus on one aspect of the bishop’s threefold vision of Mission, Prayer and Communion.
They will follow the cycle of the Church’s year and begin with the season of Advent.
Year of Mission Advent 2017 - Advent 2018
Year of Prayer Advent 2018 - Advent 2019
Year of Communion Advent 2019 - Advent 2020
Launch of the Year of Mission in Salisbury – 4 November 2017
The parishes of Salisbury have recently been discussing and reflecting on their identity as the Catholic community in this part of the Diocese. Having listened to and recognised the call of Pope Francis to become an outward-looking church it was decided that the call to mission needed to be addressed and embraced. In March of this year an ‘Outreach Worker’ was appointed and employed on a part-time basis to further this work within the Catholic community. It was clear that raising awareness and awakening people's faith, reaching out to those who have left the church for whatever reason as well as strengthening connections with those on the edges of our parish communities were all ways in which the mission of the church could be renewed. The role of the outreach worker was not to take on board the entire responsibility for this vital task, but rather to heighten the priority of what it means to be ‘an outward looking church’ and to co-ordinate the talents, gifts and generosity of the parishioners who are willing take further their roles as disciples.
In most timely fashion ‘A Future Full of Hope’ was launched on 28th November and a delegation from all three Salisbury parishes attended. The process outlined in ‘A Future Full of Hope’ seemed to offer an ideal format in which we could join with the whole diocese in looking more deeply at what it means to be ‘an evangelising church’, a people with a sense of mission and so plans were made for an Outreach Day, along similar lines to the diocesan one, to be held on 4 November 2017.
Fr Christopher Whitehead, the Director of Adult Education and Evangelisation for the Clifton Diocese, very kindly agreed to lead the day and celebrate Mass. He introduced the three year diocesan plan to a gathering of around 80 people and went through in a very simple and straightforward way how our way of understanding of evangelisation has developed, linking the teaching of Christ to the teaching of the Popes of the past 50 years. He also placed evangelisation in the context of the vision of Bishop Declan and how he sees the next three years to help us to renew and review our calling as disciples. Fr Christopher rooted the day in our own experiences as Catholics, as a community in Salisbury and helped us to reflect on how we might take this forward. In accord with the process envisaged by ‘A Future Full of Hope’ there was a focus upon the Gospel of St Mark and each attendee was given a copy of this Gospel to read and re-read as we prepare for the forthcoming year. Two of our diocesan seminarians also joined us for the day - Stuart Ford who is on extended placement in Salisbury and Henry Balkwill who very generously led our music for the day. The day concluded with people being invited to form Outreach Teams for their area and to volunteer for a number of practical outreach tasks. An encouraging number of people signed up and we are now looking forward to the forthcoming year of Mission.