Parish Missions – Background

Parish Missions – Background

Céilí Community is a community that emerged from the teachings and recommendations of Vatican II., especially those calling for what became known as the “new evangelisation.” That expression does not mean a new or different Gospel but rather the same joyful Gospel proclaimed with renewed vigour. Pope St. John Paul II popularised the term in his address to the Latin American Bishops at Haiti in May 1983 when he said, “Look to the future with commitment to a New Evangelisation, one that is new in its ardour, new in its methods, and new in its expression”

Our parish missions cover all parts of the parish including visits to schools, private dwellings, nursing homes and other places where parishioners are to be found. These missions are an integral and important element of our work throughout the whole of Ireland. Each member of our community undergoes formation and training on the various documents on evangelisation since Vatican II, the latest being Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel) promulgated by Pope Francis in November 2013. In the planning process for parish missions, it helps if the parish planning team has knowledge of the main principles of this inspiring document so that our mission team and the parish planning team can proceed with joy, love, unity and fruitfulness.

The following short extract from Evangelii Gaudium gives a flavour of what the Church has to say in relation to the parish

​(Ch. 5, paras. 27 – 30)

Pope Francis calls for “An ecclesial renewal which cannot be deferred”


“The Dream”

​” I dream of a “missionary option”, that is, a missionary impulse capable of transforming everything, so that the Church’s customs, ways of doing things, times and schedules, language and structures can be suitably channelled for the evangelisation of today’s world rather than for her self-preservation. The renewal of structures demanded by pastoral conversion can only be understood in this light: as part of an effort to make them more mission-oriented, to make ordinary pastoral activity on every level more inclusive and open, to inspire in pastoral workers a constant desire to go forth and in this way to elicit a positive response from all those whom Jesus summons to friendship with himself…” 

“Not Outdated”

“The parish is not an outdated institution; precisely because it possesses great flexibility, it can assume quite different contours depending on the openness and missionary creativity of the pastor and the community. While certainly not the only institution which evangelises, if the parish proves capable of self-renewal and constant adaptivity, it continues to be “the Church living in the midst of the homes of her sons and daughters”. This presumes that it really is in contact with the homes and the lives of its people and does not become a useless structure out of touch with people or a self-absorbed group made up of a chosen few. The parish is the presence of the Church in each territory, an environment for hearing God’s word, for growth in the Christian life, for dialogue, proclamation, charitable outreach, worship and celebration. In all its activities the parish encourages and trains its members to be evangelisers…”

Paragraphs 27 and 28 Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel) Pope Francis 2013.

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