Bishop Nicholas Hudson, lead Bishop for Justice & Peace in the Diocese of Westminster, writes:
Often, the parish community is the first place of encounter that the poor have with the face of Christ.” So says an interesting document called The Pastoral Conversion of the Parish Community in the Service of the Evangelising Mission of the Church. It comes from the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy and is timely, because there is much reflection going on in our Diocesan community as to what it has meant to be a parish in time of pandemic; also what more we must do.
It is in this spirit of openness to conversion that we shall be coming together on 5th December to Learn from the Pandemic. We shall hear, from a rich array of speakers, what we have discovered about resourcing ourselves to meet the needs of the poor; how the pandemic has affected parishes seeking to embrace the New Evangelisation; what has been the impact of the amplified proclamation that Black Lives Matter; how the whole experience has refined our theology. We are grateful to be joined by Anna Gavurin from the Caritas Food Collective; Fr Richard Nesbitt, Parish Priest in White City; Catholic teacher Marcelle Smith, who has been empowering others to talk about racial justice and combating racism; and the theologian, Dr Pat Jones.
The question of the rich young man must remain our guiding light: “Master, what more must I do?” We need to be asking what more we must do, for example, for those who have no recourse to public funds, for those who seek to meet Christ in this time of disarray, for those who are persecuted on account of their race – and more. “What more must we do?” is the question which should guide our Learning from the Pandemic on 5th December and beyond. I hope as many agencies and groups within the Diocese as can will join us in this vital conversation.
Every good wish, Bishop Nicholas