inspired

Mar 23, 2024

 

I have been deeply moved and inspired by the responses of so many readers following my news-update last week with information on the Sabbatical Leave I will begin at the end of this month. For the five months I will be in the US and Italy returning to New Zealand in September.

If you missed the update it is available at this SABBATICAL link.

I am grateful to my bishop Michael Gielen who responded generously when I made my sabbatical request last year. The overwhelming number of emails many with practical gestures of support has encouraged me greatly and I am very grateful.

One local Catholic News Agency (CathNews) has been especially enthusiastic. Editor John Murphy SM explains my intention much better than I could myself:

The basis for O’Connor’s outreach is the 2018 census data. This data shows that many who call themselves Catholic in New Zealand are not regularly connected with their parishes or Catholic schools, and many others have drifted to the point where on the census they say they have “no religion”… But some see themselves to be too distant to return easily, or say Catholic Christian life has not been presented to them in a life-giving way… During his sabbatical, O’Connor says he will work on ways to present the Catholic faith in a new, relevant, digestible and attractive way…O’Connor told CathNews that, while he is away, the frequent reflections, daily Lectio and weekly Homily Studio will continue. He plans to return to NZ in September, ready to use some of the methods he experiences in Italy to reach out to those who might be open to greater maturity of Catholic faith. “I am convinced more than ever that this Food For Faith mission, associated retreats and seminars have the capacity to rekindle the faith of many who may feel as though they are distant” he says. “I’m excited about where all this can go in the future” he said.  

The conversations with and comments and emails from so many FFF followers since advertising my Sabbatical have encouraged and enabled me to use the months to embark on a specific project which I will advertise in a FFF post next week.

Hopefully that is enough to arouse your curiosity and whet your appetite. This is important since I intend the project to involve FFF readers directly. But more next week!

In the meantime I am going to immerse myself fully in Holy Week (beginning tomorrow) – since it’s in the events of this week that our lives find meaning: without hope in suffering and resurrection emerging from the deepest darkness, without this, there is no Food For Faith.

Disconnected or no-religion Catholics – an opportunity

+++

Take an initiative and initiate a cafe gathering, or join these gatherings:

Monday 25 March 2024 10.00am (& every Monday). Moku Cafe. Bush Inn Centre, Waimairi Road,  Christchurch. Trish

Thursday 11 April 2024 10.00am (put the date in your diary) Stumble Inn, 200 Mangorei Road, New Plymouth. Joan

Email me to add another: john@fff.org.nz

After your gathering send a sentence or two about the encounter.

 

3 Comments

  1. Thank you Fr John. This Lent I have been able to follow and reflect on your articles every day and found them most helpful. With best wishes and prayers for your holiday and studies.

    Reply
  2. What a great mission. We all pray our children will return to their Catholic.
    Making Reconciliation possible in other ways would be one way to achieve this. I remember you trying something similar many years ago which amazed nany and brought them home, god Bless you mission,

    Reply
  3. In the spirit of becoming a Synodal church, a listening church, I hope we use this opportunity to hear the voices of those who have grown beyond the narrow confines of the institutional church, and followed the spirit to a wider more inclusive and diverse world. My experience is that in opening up to hear their voices, it is an enriching and even liberating experience for all. Hence the value of the FFF cafe gatherings!

    Reply

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