As the world awaits Pope Francis’ response to the Synod on the Amazon region which is expected to come in the form of an Apostolic Exhortation similar to Evangelii Gaudium (‘The Joy of the Gospel’), faithful in the diocese are already setting out along the road to conversion.
The Christmas Novena this year will give Catholics in Guyana the opportunity to reflect on what the Lord is asking of them at this time. The hope is that participation at the Novena service will sow seeds of the Word in hearts that will then bear fruit in plenty through new attitudes and new actions in parish communities.
A Catholic Standard report said the material prepared offers a scripture passage and then an extract from various writings of Pope Francis. The diocese will respond to this by praying together the beautiful prayer given by Pope Francis at the end of Laudato Si’ and one decade of the rosary.
The aim of those who have prepared the Novena material is that this Advent the diocese can begin a conversation at a community level about what needs to change, not at an abstract global level, but within their own lives, families, and parish communities. The October 6-27 Synod recognised that there can be no action unless there is first a change of heart. The final document produced by the Synod therefore focused on the need for all followers of Christ to take seriously a Call to Conversion in four areas: pastoral, cultural, ecological and synodal.
The diocesan weekly said that at some point early in the new year, each of the nine coastal clusters will organise a gathering to share on the fruits of the Novena. Delegates from these gatherings will then come together for a coastal wide meeting. While this is happening on the coast a parallel process will be organised by the eight mission areas that encompass the 100 interior communities.
In October next year representatives from across the diocese will gather once again in Lethem. At this meeting there will be time given to discerning what needs to be done, “but the ardent hope is that this will be a moment to give thanks and celebrate the many ways in which we here in Guyana have heard the call of the Lord and are already responding generously, not just in word but in deeds of loving service and courageous prophetic witness to the values of the Gospel”.