This year ‘Flaming June’ opens appropriately with the flames of the feast of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles in tongues of fire. Although June isn’t always as hot as we might like, the power of the Holy Spirit is ever present. It is the power of the Spirit that motivates us in our evangelisation work. Whatever, the weather, whatever the challenge, we can always turn to the Holy Spirit to strengthen us in our Mission to bring the Gospel to others, so that they too may come to know Jesus Christ.
At this time of year, many young people are ‘aflame’ in their faith as they receive the Holy Spirit through Confirmation; and for children receiving their First Holy Communion they too are inflamed by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, when their flames of faith are fed anew. These young flames must not be allowed to be extinguished by the daily pressures of modern life, but rather fanned into fires of faith that will last those young people throughout their lives, so that their joys can be ever more joyful, and their challenges overcome. It is primarily through parents that the young person’s faith will be encouraged to grow, supported by the parish and the school; a partnership that will feed the faith of the young. As they grow and their lives are transformed, they too become evangelisers, bringing Jesus to those they meet. Indeed it is when adults see the openness of children and young people to the workings of the Holy Spirit, that the call to follow Jesus, to be true disciples, is made stronger.
As we prepare for summer, it is a good time to consider where our Proclaim work will take us over the coming months; to look ahead at the challenges and opportunities that may come our way; and to plan and prepare how we might respond. For example, for those children who will have recently received their First Holy Communion or who have been confirmed, how can our parish teams help them to continue to grow in their faith? Maybe a parish event such as a picnic or barbecue preceded by Mass can be a fun way to bring children and families together in the summer months, and an opportunity to show how worship, family and community are all part of parish life. Looking further ahead, this month is an opportune time, before summer holidays take over, for Parish Evangelisation Teams to start preparing for the new school year, to consider how to welcome families with children starting school for the first time into parish life. One idea might be to welcome families to a coffee morning, with activities for the children, preceded by a short service with a blessing for parents, carers and children. Also, providing information on parish activities and in particular children’s liturgies, will be a good start to bringing new families into parish life.
The month of June is full of wonderful feast days that encourage us in our mission, including the Nativity of John the Baptist, who prepared the way for the Lord; and the feast day of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, whose missions to the early Church brought us out Faith today. Such great evangelisers! June is truly a month flaming with the power of the Holy Spirit, inflaming us as we proclaim the Good News!
Deacon Adrian Cullen