What is Your 4 O’Clock Moment?
“What is your 4 o’clock moment?” This question was posed to the 43 representatives from the 23 parishes who came to Hallam’s first Diocesan Proclaim 15 meeting, “Hearing the Call” held recently at All Saints School. We were a bit puzzled until Greg Ryan, who posed the question, explained the reference to John 1:39. “Come and see” he replied; so they went and saw where he lived, and stayed with him the rest of that day. It was about the 10th hour (4pm)”. What was our experience of a personal encounter with Jesus? The gospel goes on to describe how Andrew went to tell his brother Peter that he had found the Messiah. Can we hear the excitement, eagerness and joy in his words?
Our day began with the story of another person who joyously shared his encounter with Christ, the man possessed by demons in Luke 8:28-39. Before Jesus came to him we read that he was living wild and naked amongst the tombs. He was in a desperate, loveless place, but he was transformed through his encounter with Christ who instructed him to “Go back home and report all that God had done for you.” It is not recorded how he did this but we can imagine his delight, joy, and bubbling enthusiasm as he eagerly told his story to his community. This would not have been easy given their fear of what Jesus had done.
At our first meeting for parish representatives for Proclaim 15 we learnt more about Pope Francis’ invitation for us to become missionary disciples. “Christians have a duty to proclaim the Gospel without excluding anyone. Instead of seeming to impose new obligations, they should appear as people who wish to share their joy, who point to a horizon of beauty and who invite others to a delicious banquet. It is not by proselytising that the Church grows, but ‘attraction’.” Evangelii Gaudiem 15.
Greg guided us through the fundamental change in the church brought about by Vatican 2, and with which we are still struggling to come to terms with. We were reminded of Pope Paul VI’ exhortation, “She (the Church) exists in order to evangelise, that is to say, in order to preach and teach, to be the channel of the gift of grace, to reconcile sinners with God and to perpetuate Christ’s sacrifice in the Mass, which is the memorial of his death and glorious resurrection.” Evangelii Nuntiandi 14.
The timing of our first meeting is appropriate given Bishop Ralph’s recent letter in the April edition of Hallam News. He wrote that “Jesus invites and challenges his disciples in every generation to ‘put out into the deep’. Like Peter, we, too, can be resistant to his invitation but if we overcome our resistance we, also, will experience and do more than we ever dare hope or imagine.” We are called to leave the safety of the shore, to go out to the deep, to move forward, to become missionary.
Pope Francis wrote, “I wish to encourage the Christian faithful to embark upon a new chapter of evangelisation marked by this joy, while pointing out new paths for the Church’s journey in years to come.” Evangelii Gaudium 1.
Our next meeting, “Sharing the Message,” will be held on 2 July from 9.30am – 12.30pm at All Saints School, Sheffield. We will be looking in more detail at what evangelisation can mean within our parishes.
There is still time for those parishes which were not represented at the first meeting to join our journey. All you need to do is to ask your Parish Priest to be one of the two representatives for your parish and then email Deacon Andrew Crowley at stpatslanetop@gmailmail, giving your name, parish and deanery.
Deacon Andrew Crowley