Posted on 1 September 2016
By Adrian Middeldorp*
His Eminence Donald Cardinal Wuerl has encouraged those in the church to be “bold in the faith” and urged the laity to have courage to witness the truth of Jesus Christ. Cardinal Wuerl gave the keynote address at the PROCLAIM 2016 Conference on the New Evangelisation, being hosted in Chatswood, Sydney. More than 500 participants from across Australia have come together to learn ways in which parishes can become evangelising communities.
Reflecting on the church since the Second Vatican Council, Cardinal Wuerl stated that parish life should bring renewal in ourselves. “Parish life renewal includes the renewal of our own personal faith, not just intellectually but effectively,” he said.
However, he said that in order to share our faith people need to know and be confident in the message. “Make the truth of the Gospel to lead and bring people to receive God’s love. Guard and present the deposit of Christian doctrine to make it more accessible.”
Drawing on the popes since the Second Vatican Council, Cardinal Wuerl said that we have come to a “moment of Pentecost”.
“St John Paul II stepped out on the world stage saying his role was on the implementation of Vatican II to renew faith by refocusing the energy of the church” he said. “Pope Benedict XVI brought a profound theological appreciation of the church with roots to Jesus Christ.” Pope Francis encourages the laity to “go out, encounter and experience the Joy of Jesus Christ”.
Cardinal Wuerl said that Pope Francis has encouraged collegiality among the Bishops, encouraging us to listen, to focus on the human person, deep engagement of Scripture and to turn to virtue and grace.
“Our language does not have to be so complex, inform consciences, not replace them and help people discern,” he said.
“When we listen and encounter we are evangelising.”
“Evangelising disciples needs connectedness to the church as the church maintains the living connection with Jesus Christ.”
Conference keynote addresses can be viewed online at www.xt3.com/proclaim2016
PROCLAIM 2016 is being organised and hosted on behalf of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference by the Catholic Diocese of Broken Bay. PROCLAIM 2016 runs from 1-3 September. For more information about the program and speakers, click here
*Adrian Middeldorp is Engagement Manager for the Diocese of Parramatta.