Since his election Pope Francis seems to have enjoyed the favour of the media. Hardly a day passes that we don’t see his picture on papers and magazines with much favourable comment.
He seems to have captured the imaginations of most, if not all, even many who would not normally be favourable to the position of the Catholic Church.
In this Exhortation, an appeal to all baptised persons entitled The Joy of the Gospel, we come across the many quotations, presented often as attractive sound-bytes in the print media, but here we see them in their original context. His words have an immediate appeal as being very personal and intimate, very profound but not lofty or remote, and are matched in his lifestyle by his spontaneous actions and loving manner of relating to all.
During the forthcoming weeks of Lent the Faith Formation Group in Thurles Parish will ‘Open Up’ this Exhortation to all who are interested, to explore some of the many challenges that it presents to us. We cannot hope to do full justice to this document in five sessions, at best, hope to begin a conversation which, we believe, will lead us to take up the challenge that Pope Francis presents.
Pope Francis’ message is for all, but while many admire him and his appeal is widespread, it is timely and important for us his followers to examine more closely this amazing document and the unique manner in which it presents the message of Jesus Christ today.
Copies of this document are available as free download online at www.vatican.va/phome_en.htm or at a local bookshop reasonably priced. We recommend that those who are hoping to attend the Lenten series and others who are unable to attend, would obtain a copy in advance, so as to be more familiar with its content and style, and will therefore be better prepared to benefit from the input and subsequent discussion on the material presented.
This is an important opportunity for us all as we live in a time of unprecedented change and eroding values. Dietrich Bonhoeffer has said that “the ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children.” Can we together take this one small step that may well lead to a renewal of our faith, to a better quality of life for ourselves and greater hope for future generations? So, make a note, this programme runs for five Tuesdays of Lent commencing 11th March.