Don’t be devastated or depressed about the election results in the UK today. There have already been a number of changes with leaders of three parties stepping down, new leaders will take up the reins and inject fresh impetus into the politics of this country. The small majority the government have will allow back bench MPs to question policies which have a negative effect on the poor, the needy and the marginalised in our country.
It’s not the result many of us wanted, especially those of us with a social conscience and a Christian heart, but there are signs of a revival in the Church who will need to take a lead in filling the widening gaps left by the state.
After all, it was the Catholic Church who originally established health care and education for ordinary people, and this country has a wonderful hospice movement which runs almost entirely on charitable donations and receives very little state funding. This allows it to undertake its work without interference.
Food banks, street pastors and many other initiatives set up by church communities are already up and running. In Hereford, perhaps elsewhere too, we have lay pastors assisting 60 families who are struggling and have asked for help and more pastors are needed.
Perhaps we could establish non-profit homes for the elderly, nurseries for children, more hostels for the homeless – wherever there is a need, the Church needs to be serving.
The fact of the matter is, we Christians now have an unbelievable opportunity for mission and to spread the Good News. There are signs of hope across our land which include:
- The School of the Annunciation at Buckfast Abbey is preparing Catechists through its Foundations and Diploma Courses;
- The new offering from CaFE (Catholic Faith Exploration), ‘The Gift’ has been distributed to at least 400 places across the country, preparing the faithful for a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit;
- The New Evangelisation has been simmering gently on the back boiler for some time now, but in July, there will be a gathering of some 850 witnesses at Proclaim 15 when there will be opportunities to develop new expressions of Catholic joy and missionary outreach;
- Coupled with that His Holiness Pope Francis has declared an extraordinary Jubilee, a Year of Mercy commencing on 8th December, the feast of the Immaculate Conception of Our Blessed Lady.
To support all this work, we need prayer and lots of it. We need personal prayer, community prayer, and recitation of the Rosary, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Benediction and daily Mass. We need to pray for all that is to happen and pray for protection too, for the devil and his disciples will surely want to try and stop us.