Calling our parishes to make disciples

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Dr Mary Healy will present the next instalment in the highly successful Reclaiming Evangelisation series of talks. Photo: Supplied

Following the great success of the launch of the ‘Reclaiming Evangelisation’ expert talk series with Bishop Robert Barron last November, the Parish Renewal Team is inviting all to register for the next online talk to be presented by scripture scholar Dr Mary Healy.

Dr Healy is a globally-respected speaker and addressed the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress held in Hungary last September.

A professor of Scripture at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit and a bestselling author, she is a general editor of the Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture and author of two of its volumes, The Gospel of Mark and Hebrews and other books.

Dr Healy also serves the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity as a member of the Pentecostal-Catholic International Dialogue and was appointed by Pope Francis in 2014 as one of the first three women to serve on the Pontifical Biblical Commission.

Her talk for Sydney Catholics, to be livestreamed via Zoom from 10am on Saturday 12 February, will be on the topic ‘Why Make Disciples? What Scripture tells us about making and forming disciples’. The talk will be followed by a Q&A and small group discussion concluding at 11.30am.

Bishop Barron fires up Sydney’s enthusiasm for evangelisation

The series ‘Reclaiming Evangelisation: How Jesus’ Great Commission Will Renew Our Parishes’ is an initiative of the Parish Renewal Team of the Sydney Centre for Evangelisation in support of the archdiocesan mission plan Go Make Disciples.

More than 400 people from parishes, schools and chaplaincies from across the archdiocese and beyond went online, separately and in groups, to participate in the launch with Bishop Barron as the Los Angeles-based author, speaker, theologian and media ministry-founder addressed the question ‘Why Make Disciples? The Case for the Evangelising Mission of the Church’.

Feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with participants saying it was inspiring and practical in challenging them to find ways to make missionary outreach a greater focus in their parish communities over the Christmas season and beyond.

Talk series goes back to basics

“The point of this series is to give us a chance to remember who we are called to be,” said SCE Parish Renewal Manager Elizabeth Arblaster. “Bishop Barron talked about how the heart of the Christian life is to be called into what he calls the ‘theo-drama’.

“This is a great adventure in which God calls each of us to play a unique role in His redemption of the world. Dr Mary Healy is going to examine all the evidence in the New Testament about how Jesus blessed His disciples and then asked them to enter into this great adventure. It’s just a time to pause and remember who we are called to be.

“I would say as a cradle Catholic, it can be tempting to take for granted the gifts God has given us…to be forgiven by God, to be loved and created by Him, to know there is a real meaning in this life and the next,” Ms Arblaster added.

“It’s always good to pause and consider what it would be like to live without this lens, and to remember how Our Lord asked us all to pass on what we have received in the many ways we can. I think Dr Healy will have some very inspiring things for us to contemplate in this regard.”

Elizabeth Arblaster leads a reflection on leadership at the Seminary of the Good Shepherd in 2021. PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli

Parish Renewal Officer Sister Anastasia Reeves OP said that Dr Healy’s talk will focus on the Scriptural basis for the mission of all baptised Catholics – and therefore all parishes – to lovingly share the Gospel message with others, including those who do not currently have an active relationship with Jesus Christ and his body, the Church.

“It is hoped that her talk and others’ to follow, including author and retreat director Fr Jacques Philippe’s talk for us in March, will continue to spark an archdiocesan‐wide conversation about recovering the evangelising mission of the Church, particularly as it is expressed in the parish setting,” Sister Anastasia said.

“It is clear from the experience of parishes that those which are living the Gospel mandate to actively make disciples become vibrant, attractive parishes.”

In her talk for last year’s Congress, which was titled ‘Love says: Go! Eucharist and the Christian Life’, Dr Healy explained how Scripture makes it clear that God’s love is “not static, it is dynamic”.

“It is filled with the Divine energy that propels us outward into a world that desperately needs that love,” she said.

Register for Dr Mary Healy’s 12 February online talk and other Go Make Disciples events at www.gomakedisciples.org.au/cas-events

For more information about the Reclaiming Evangelisation Series contact Sister Anastasia by email at [email protected]