Leading Irish prelate presses Church to embrace 'more joyful language'

Leading Irish prelate presses Church to embrace ‘more joyful language’

Leading Irish prelate presses Church to embrace ‘more joyful language’

Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, Northern Ireland, wait for the start of a session of the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment at the Vatican Oct. 11. (Credit: CNS)

Ireland's top bishop called for the Church to embrace a more joyful language during a Sunday Mass in celebration of an ecumenical prayer initiative.

NEW YORK — A leading Catholic bishop in Ireland is calling for the Church to embrace a “more joyful language” as part of a “new springtime” called for by the Second Vatican Council.

Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, Primate of All Ireland, celebrated a Mass at the National Shrine of Knock on Sunday in conjunction with “Thy Kingdom Come,” a global ecumenical prayer movement that “invites Christians around the world to pray for more people to come to know Jesus.”

On Sunday, Martin recalled both Francis’s visit to Ireland last August, as well as his own participation in the recent Synod of Bishops on Young People, where he represented the Irish bishops in Rome.

Drawing on that experience, he said, “Out at the Synod for Youth which was held by Pope Francis in Rome of last October, I suggested that we do not speak enough in the Church about the power of the Holy Spirit. After all, it is Holy Spirit who ‘rejuvenates’ the Church.”

“I said at the Synod that I’d like to hear more of the joyful language of the ‘new springtime’, the ‘new Pentecost’ which every pope since the Second Vatican Council has called for,” he continued. “As Pope Saint Paul VI famously said, ‘the Church needs her eternal Pentecost; she needs fire in her hearts, words on her lips, a glance that is prophetic.’”

“Thy Kingdom Come,” was started in 2016 by the Anglican Archbishops of Canterbury and York to the Church of England. Since then, it has grown into a global ecumenical movement centered on prayer and has received the support of Francis. This year’s international campaign officially kicks off on May 30 and will last for eleven days.

“When we pray ‘Thy Kingdom Come’, we imply that we want God’s will to be the motivation for everything we think, and say, and do, every day of our lives,” Martin said on Sunday.

“It is the Holy Spirit, working within us, who helps to establish God’s Kingdom here on earth — a Kingdom of Love, of Justice, of Peace — a Kingdom where patience, kindness, generosity and charity are alive and well, and where selfishness, anger, oppression and violence are shunned,” he continued.

“How I long for the New Pentecost, for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit to transform and renew the faith in Ireland and rejuvenate our church,” Martin told the crowd of several thousand attendees gathered at Knock, Ireland’s most popular Marian shrine where it is believed that Mary, Saint Joseph and Saint John the Evangelist appeared in 1879.

Francis visited the shrine on the final day of the 2018 World Meeting of Families last August. More than 1.5 million pilgrims visit the site each year.

Martin closed his address by encouraging participants to reach out to five individuals — “not necessarily five family members, five different people,” to “pray that their lives may be touched by the power of the Holy Spirit and that the love of Christ may really take root in their hearts.”

“People sometimes ask me what is the proper way to greet an archbishop,” he said. “Well, the other day a little boy surprised me by holding up his hand and saying ‘High Five, Bishop!’”

“The Bible often speaks of believers ‘lifting up hands’ in prayer. So, in the final days leading to Pentecost, why not consider a different kind of ‘High five?’ Why not lift up your hand in prayer to the Holy Spirit, praying for those five individuals to become true followers of Jesus Christ. Pray for them: ‘Come Holy Spirit,’ ‘Thy Kingdom Come,’” he concluded.

Follow Christopher White on Twitter: @cwwhite212 


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