On the 28th June 2014 St Mary's Seminary, Oscott College, ordained 6 new deacons, including Sion Community's very own Pius Amoako. Have a look at some of the photos from the day and do keep Pius in your prayers as he enters his final year.
"Evangelization, spiritual ecumenism, caring for the poor and needy, welcoming the marginalized and worship," Pope Francis
ADDRESS OF POPE FRANCIS IN THE 37TH NATIONAL CONVOCATION OF THE RENEWAL IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
Sunday, 1 June 2014
To you priests I would say just one word: closeness. Closeness to Jesus Christ, in prayer and adoration. Closeness to the Lord, and closeness to people, to God’s people who have been entrusted to you. Love your people, stay close to them. This is what I ask of you, this double closeness: to Jesus and to people.
To young people:
It would be sad if a young person locked up his youth in a safe: that youth would then get old in the worst sense of the word: it would become an old rag, something useless. Youth is for taking risks – good risks, risks full of hope. It is meant to be staked on great things. Youth is meant to be given away, to help others to know the Lord. Don’t keep your youth to yourselves: get out there!
Families are the domestic Church, where Jesus grows; he grows in the love of spouses, he grows in the lives of children. That is why the enemy so often attacks the family. The devil does not want the family; he tries to destroy it, to make sure that there is no love there. Married couples are sinners, like us all, but they want to go forward in faith, in fruitfulness, in their children and their children’s faith. May the Lord bless families and strengthen them in this time of crisis when the devil is seeking to destroy them.
To the disabled:
Our brothers and sisters who are suffering, who are ill or handicapped, are brothers and sisters anointed by Jesus’ own sufferings. They imitate Jesus at the hardest time of his own life, the time of his cross. They endure this anointing of suffering for the sake of the whole Church. Thank you, dear brothers and sisters! Thank you for accepting to be anointed by suffering. Thank you for the hope to which you bear witness, the hope which carries us forward as we seek the caress of Jesus.
To the elderly:
I was saying to Salvatore that perhaps there are people missing here, perhaps the most important of all: grandparents! The elderly are not here, yet they are the “insurance” of our faith, the “old folks”. When Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the Temple, two of them were there, and, unless I am mistaken, four if not five times the Gospel says that “they were led by the Holy Spirit”. But it says of Mary and Joseph that they were led by the Law. Young people must carry out the Law, the elderly – like good wine – have the freedom of the Holy Spirit. And so this Simeon, who was courageous, invented a “liturgy” and praised God; he was praising… and it was the Spirit who impelled him to do so. The elderly! They are our wisdom, they are the wisdom of the Church – the elderly whom we so often discard, grandparents, the elderly… And that little old lady, Anna, did something extraordinary in the Church: she canonized gossip! How did she do it? Like this: instead of gossiping about somebody else, she went all over town talking about Jesus: “He is the one, he is the one who is going to save us!” And this is a good thing. Grandmothers and grandfathers are our strength and our wisdom. May the Lord always give us wise elders! Elderly men and women who can pass on to us the memory of our people, the memory of the Church. May they also give us what the Letter to the Hebrews says about them: a sense of joy. It says that our forebears, our elders, greeted God’s promises from afar. May this be what they teach us.
Prayer of the Holy Father:
Lord, look upon your people as we await the Holy Spirit. Watch over our young people, watch over our families, watch over our children, watch over our sick, watch over our priests, consecrated men and women, and us bishops… Watch over us all. And grant us that holy inebriation, the drunkenness of the Spirit, which enables us to speak all languages, the languages of charity, ever close to our brothers and sisters who need us. Teach us not to quarrel among ourselves to get a little more power; teach us to be humble, teach us to love the Church more than our own side, than our internal squabbles; teach us to have a heart open to receive the Spirit. Lord, send forth your Spirit upon us! Amen.
I got back late last night from Bury St Edmunds where I’d had the privilege of giving some input at the regional Celebrate weekend taking place there. Many congratulations to the organisers who did a fabulous job!!! In the workshop that I’m trying to do wherever I go at the moment, “The Purpose of the Parish”, we reflected on and had great discussions about the Church’s teaching on why our parishes exist, and how we might help them fulfil this purpose in the 21st Century. And what is their purpose? To become ever more the family of God, loving Him and each other with the love that Christ showed for us on the Cross, and drawing others into that family: Communion and Mission!!! Alongside the workshop, it was great to see so many people on fire with the Gospel and to meet Bishop Alan Hopes, the bishop of East Anglia, who described his central mandate for the diocese as being evangelisation. On top of all that I was able to enjoy one of the perks of having to do all the travelling that we do in Sion; popping in on friends around the country as you drive past where they live. My weekend was finished off nicely when I was able to pop in on one of our Associate Members and go for a curry. A great conclusion to a great weekend.
Work and Pray Invitation
19th - 22nd May
Please join us for a celebration of Work and Pray - as those of you who have come to this event before know, it is a special time of working and praying together. All capabilities catered for - no job will be too small!
Painting and decorating, cooking, cleaning, gardening etc.
We aim to start on Monday, but why not arrive early on Sunday 18th for supper at 6:30pm with all food and accommodation included. We will conclude after lunch on May 22nd.
Please RSVP Teresa Frost here.
The kitchen is at the heart of every home. S.E.N.T. is at the heart of Sion Community because this is where we can come together for teaching, prayer and fellowship. We can welcome our guests and visitors to S.E.N.T. to take part in our Courses and Retreats.
S.E.N.T. was built in the 1970s and the kitchen needs to be replaced if it is to continue as a centre for the New Evangelisation and a place of welcome and hospitality. The work on replacing the kitchen will begin at the end of July 2014 and will be complete before the end of August 2014.
Kitchens are very costly and the refurbishment must meet Hygiene and Health and Safety Standards. So that we can cover the cost of the work we have launched ‘At the Heart’ fundraising appeal. We are asking everyone we know to help us raise the £50,000 we need to meet this expenditure. Those who are inspired are organising fundraising events such as ‘Car Washing’ at S.E.N.T. Others have been very generous and sent personal donations and to date we have raised £8,000. Several grant making trusts have been approached and we ask your prayers that these will prove fruitful. If you are able to join with the fundraising effort please click here for our fundraising page.
“Throw open the windows of the Church and let the fresh air of the Spirit blow through.” These words, spoken by Blessed John XXIII when he called for the Second Vatican Council in the early days of his pontificate, were a powerful prayer, which has led to many exciting new developments in the Church. As a result of that Council, the Church recognised her need to engage with the modern world, grew in her understanding of the need to share the treasure of faith in Christ will all people and came to define evangelisation as the purpose of the Church’s existence. Year by year since then the documents of the Church have articulated this ever more clearly, with a decade dedicated to growth in our evangelistic endeavours to conclude the last millennium and a Papal Synod, culminating in the recent Apostolic Exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium”, to explore how we can be more effective in our evangelisation in the modern world held only three months ago.
Out of these exciting developments Sion Catholic Community for Evangelism was born. In 1984, Monsignor Pat Lynch, a priest of the Diocese of Nottingham, read one of these documents, ‘Evangelisation in the Modern World’, written by Pope Paul VI in 1976. In it the Pope called all Catholics – lay people, religious and priests alike – to work in collaboration to share the faith with all those they met. Inspired by what he read there, Fr Pat brought together a Franciscan sister and three married couples to put this teaching, this exhortation, this call, into practice. In his book, ‘Awaking the Giant’, Fr Pat reflected what Pope Paul VI had articulated; that the Catholic Church is a giant with the best news ever – the Good News of Jesus Christ – to share with the world, but that in some senses she was asleep, being a resting labourer in the vineyard rather than an active one. Those eight initial members sought, therefore, to encourage and equip parishes – the presence of the Church in every local area – to become active workers in that vineyard, sowers of the seed, witnesses to their faith, and that is what Sion Community has been seeking to do for the subsequent 29 years. In that time we have grown from those initial eight pioneers to 26 full time members and 35 Associate Members, with a considerable number more having come and gone over the years. Reflecting the evangelistic vision for Sion’s foundation, our Purpose and Values statements read as follows:
Sion Catholic Community is drawn together by God to evangelise. Our Community is Spirit-led, organic, interdependent and committed to each other and to prayer. We are called to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ and to equip others for this task of evangelisation. In order to be a sign of hope and give an authentic witness, we are committed to living the Gospel in ways relevant to the needs of today. This Statement expresses that:
(a) We are Roman Catholic.
(b) We use the charismatic gifts for building up the Body of Christ and
seek to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. (EN 75)
(c) We recognise that growth and development as a Community and in
our approach to evangelisation is essential. We seek the guidance
of the Spirit in this process which includes prayer, action, reflection,
(d) We seek to be a sign of hope in the Church for the people we
minister to and for our society. (EN 28)
We value growth and change in order to be prophetic, innovative and
effective communicators of the Gospel.
We value a collaborative model of Ministry, open to people of all ages and
We value the call to our particular expression of Community which
empowers us for the task of evangelisation.
We value openness, empowerment and commitment as essential to the
development of community and the individual.
We value an approach to our vocational work which is both professional and
pastoral. This is maintained through and by ongoing training and formation.
We endeavour to live the Gospel we proclaim so as to witness to others with
We value the Sacraments, Eucharistic Adoration and Scripture as important
aspects of our life and prayer.
Since we were founded, in light of these defining statements, our ministry has expanded to include, partnering with dioceses, both nationally and internationally, the development of Secondary and Primary School Missions on an ongoing basis, and Family Ministry, seeking to share the vibrancy of our faith with our young people and children, and encouraging and building up young Catholic families in order that they become more effective as what the Church calls ‘the domestic church’.
“In our modern world (often hostile to religion), religious families are extremely important centres of living faith. They are "domestic churches" in which the parents are the first heralds of faith (Second Vatican Council) ...The home is the first school of the Christian life where all learn love, repeated forgiveness, and prayerful worship.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church: Paragraph 1656 - 1657)
Alongside these ministries Sion Community also works, wherever the opportunity arises, to share the beauties of our faith in Christ as Catholics and to work with others of like mind. As such, we have led missions in prisons, participated in ecumenical missions to whole towns and organised the Catholic evangelistic outreach that took place around the Olympic Games.
As we journey towards the celebrations of our 30th anniversary we pray, and ask your prayers, for our continued mission as part of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, and for the Church as the whole.
Blessed John XXIII, pray for us.
Our Lady, Star of Evangelisation, pray for us.
Fr Simon Penhalagan
SION CATHOLIC COMMUNITY