Dear Friends in Christ,
Welcome to this week’s edition of the Bishop’s Blog!
As we know the Church has received the mandate from Christ ‘to teach all nations’, a task which she has endeavoured to discharge throughout her two thousand years of existence. The first Apostles and disciples went forth and used all the means at their disposal to proclaim what God has done for the world in Christ.
The four gospels resonant with the Old Testament, together with the letters of St. Paul and the other writings of the New Testament, would form the basis of that missionary outreach to the world and culture of Greece, Rome, and eventually beyond.
That outstanding body of people we know as the Fathers of the Church, e.g. Augustine, Jerome, Gregory, Leo, Athanasius, and so many others from both East and West, used the languages of their day, through the pen and by proclamation, to build up the Church and further its mission.
The outstanding legacy of scholarship and Church teaching, from Councils and Popes, through outstanding men and women – ‘Doctors of the Church’, continues to be augmented down to our own time.
Now, as is clearly evident, with the revolution brought about in our time by the ‘new’ media the Church finds herself present in a new place, but at the same time given wonderful opportunities to speak to the world about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
The appeal, opportunities and challenges of the new means of communication is one that is world-wide, and often immediate. Thanks to human ingenuity the Church can now speak to the world in a way hitherto unsuspected.
We in the Diocese of Lancaster have embraced the challenges and the opportunities now available to speak of Christ and our work of evangelisation in our part of the world in north Lancashire and all of Cumbria. You may notice that on Monday we completely renewed our Diocesan website to further take our place in the life of the Church of today, and play our part in what Christ has called us to do.
That exemplary missionary, Paul of Tarsus, spoke of ‘taking every thought captive to obey Christ’ (2Cor. 10:5), and I am certain that he would have employed and made use of every aspect of today’s social and ‘new’ media in his work of preaching the gospel of Christ.
My hope is that the new Lancaster Diocesan website will prove to be an invaluable instrument in bringing Christ to everyone who ‘touches base’ with it. We in the diocese of Lancaster do indeed have a gospel to proclaim and our new website will greatly assist us in that work of the New Evangelisation.
We hope to have come up with a new site that is user-friendly, very functional, and is built for multi-platform use — so people can access it from tablet devices and smartphones — and it’s easily expandable. These are all things we thought we needed and all the things that define a current website.
More and more if someone wants information, they go to the Internet and see if there’s a website and the Diocese and its parishes are no different. Certainly our hugely popular Latest (Catholic) News & Comment feature continues to be given prominence as well as the Bishop’s Blog.
The new website’s homepage immediately offers a colourful, fresh and attractive sense with a series of “marquee slides” with large photographs that highlight the Catholic faith, the diocesan youth service, promoting priestly vocations for the Diocese, the Diocese’s safeguarding policy, provision and procedures, the forthcoming Jubilee Year of Mercy and key pages promoting our Pro-Life vision and promoting marriage and family life.
Utilizing the popular WordPress software to input and update content, the new diocesan website also offers an easy search function, so if people aren’t sure where they should go, they can just use the search function on the homepage and it should bring you to it. The site also easily links to the Diocesan Facebook and Twitter accounts.
The ultimate goal of the new site is to help the Diocese and our parishes evangelize, to reach our people, he said. In one case it might be as easy as providing someone with a Mass time, another the address of a diocesan office or for someone else it might be providing the steps that are involved in becoming a Catholic.
Until next week – may God bless you all,
+Michael G Campbell OSA
Bishop of Lancaster