Having started in the parish just before Christmas, I wanted to think of an initial idea to support people’s outreach to others. I’d seen the great work of the St Vincent de Paul people, supported by the community, to put hampers together, and so that outreach was obviously well in process. I decided on the idea of a simple card/bookmark that people could put someone’s name on as a message of thanksgiving. My workmate from the Institute for Mission at Blacktown helped me design it with six elements .. 1. a thanks message 2. a scripture line 3. a nativity image 4. the name of the parish and 5. space on the back if anyone wanted to write a message in addition to the 6. name on the front. I thought it would be an easily accessible means for lots of us to share a gesture of faith even with people outside of the faith network. And I say that because I reckon it can be a challenge to know how to share faith without feeling like it might be imposing on people.
I like that line of Pope John Paul II who said we need to ‘propose’, not ‘impose’, when it comes to sharing faith.
Well lots of people who came to Christmas Masses seemed to take up the idea and left the church with three or four of them. Hopefully a good number of those cards ended up being a channel of encouragement and a simple sharing of faith with people near to and far from Emu Plains. Someone from the wider community showed me one they picked up in a random place where a thoughtful parishioner had left it to be found by anyone! (See photo below) Over the time ahead I’ll be really keen to hear some creative ideas from people about how we can ‘propose’ our faith in accessible ways and offer lots of connection and welcome.
With friendship in God’s mission,
Originally featured in paulfromifm.org.au in January 2019