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Opening the doors of our Churches

In this month’s Pope’s Video, the pontiff prays for ‘Parishes at the service of the mission.’ He says: “Parishes must be in contact with homes, with people’s lives, with the life of society. They have to be houses where the door is always open so as to go forth toward others. And it is important that this going-forth follows a clear proposal of faith”.

Pope Francis continues: “The doors must be opened so that Jesus can go out with all of the joy of his message. Let us pray for our parishes, that they not be simple offices, but that animated by a missionary spirit, may be places where faith is communicated and charity is seen”.

In response to the Pope’s Video, Gerry Clarke SJ, parish priest of Saint Francis Xavier’s Church in Gardiner Street, Dublin, says: “I find the Pope’s Video a lively expression of what he has been asking us to be as a parish: to be a parish ‘that goes out’. The old Church in the video, made beautiful by lighting reminds me of our own beautiful Church interior. The video offers a concrete way of ‘going out’… cleaning up your locality and helping those with a need that you can meet”.

“Here at St Francis Xavier’s Gardiner Street,” says Gerry, “we want to be ‘a parish that goes out’: a team of people joined the rest of Dublin in the summer in a local clean-up and two members of the Gospel Choir joined local kids at Croke Park a few weeks ago to sing Gospel music in the Fan Zone. And then, in the video the people are all drawn back to the church: a community of prayer and support. On Sunday 17th September we’ll be hosting the Climate Justice Candle. We welcome all to come and be a parish that goes out”.

Moreover, Charles Searson SJ, National Secretary of the Apostleship of Prayer in Zambia, offers up a daily prayer based on this month’s intentions: “God, our Father, we offer you our day. We offer you our prayers, thoughts, words, actions, joys and sufferings in union with the heart of your Son, Jesus Christ, who continues to offer Himself in the Eucharist for the salvation of the world.

“May the Holy Spirit, who guided Jesus, be our guide and strength today so that we may witness to your love. With Mary, the mother of the Lord and of the Church, we pray especially for this month’s intentions as proposed by the Holy Father. With Pope Francis we pray that our parishes, animated by a missionary spirit, may be places where faith is communicated and charity is seen. Lord, hear us!”

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