Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, is inviting Catholic dioceses, parishes and groups across England and Wales to support a Pope Francis-inspired outreach initiative. Speaking to coincide with the national distribution of information about the project titled Proclaim ’15, Cardinal Nichols said, “This pioneering initiative is for all clergy, religious and lay people. Why? Because we all share the one mission – to PROCLAIM the joy of the Gospel. The wide range of practical ideas offered for planning and carrying out fruitful parish evangelisation will help us all to be better missionary disciples. Please don’t let this opportunity pass you by.”
Proclaim ’15 aims to support, inspire and encourage new expressions of parish evangelisation involving all 22 of the Catholic dioceses across our countries, as well as the Bishopric of The Forces and the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. Cardinal Nichols added, “Proclaim ’15 has a practical and ‘how to’ focus because while there is enthusiasm within the Catholic community to share confidently and joyfully our Faith, it can at times be hard to discern where to begin. This initiative aims to address that difficulty and is inspired by Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, in which he writes: ‘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.’”
There are five parts to Proclaim ’15 which include: the provision of small group materials for parishes (published in January); the resourcing of prayer vigils for the evening of 11 July 2015; the organisation of a National Catholic Evangelisation Conference in Birmingham on 11 July; the creation of templates to encourage the organisation of local Proclaim ’15 events; the collation of New Evangelisation resources as a fruit of the National Conference.
Rt Rev Mark O’Toole, Chair of the Bishops’ national Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis, said, “Pope Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium offers us a blueprint for Catholic evangelisation. We are invited to give our encounter with Jesus Christ simple, but radical and creative, expression in our local communities. Proclaim ’15 aims to support and encourage as many parishes as possible to take new steps in service of this mission. It is being offered in partnership with generous co-workers in Catholic Dioceses across England and Wales and has a wholly practical focus. A specific step that is being encouraged is the development of dedicated parish evangelisation teams. Please do get involved in the variety of ways that are being proposed.”
A booklet summarising the initiative is available for download, along with the Cardinal’s letter, from: www.catholicnews.org.uk/proclaim15. Parish small group materials were published online in January, with prayer vigil resources and event templates to be made available in Spring.