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Bishop urges young evangelists to spread the Gospel at the Olympics

By on Friday, 3 August 2012

Young people from across the world gather at the Joshua Camp

Young people from across the world gather at the Joshua Camp

Hundreds of young people have gathered near the London 2012 Olympic Park at the start of a 12-day evangelisation event called the Joshua Camp.

The camp is being held at St Bonaventure’s Catholic high school in one of the most deprived parts of East London, a mile away from the Olympic Park. It is hosted by the Sion Community.

Bishop Thomas McMahon of Brentwood celebrated Mass on the first day of the camp, welcoming participants from every inhabited continent, with 21 countries represented.

In his homily, Bishop McMahon highlighted two particular Olympic themes: carrying the torch and running the race. He said that “in Ancient Greece, the concept of light was revered and was seen in contrast to darkness” with light and the torch becoming “a symbol of faith and hope in a darkened world”.

Speaking of welcoming the Olympic torch past his cathedral in Brentwood, he said he liked “to think that people also gathered to see and support those who were carrying the light”.

The bishop challenged those present, asking: “Do we try each day to follow Christ our light? Are we light bearers to our world, to those around us, by our way of life, by the way that we witness to Christian values?”

He then echoed the words spoken to young Catholics by Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to Britain in 2010, reminding them of Blessed John Henry Newman’s motto, “heart speaks unto heart”: “I want you to look into your own heart and ask yourself: ‘What kind of person do I want to be?’”

Bishop McMahon recalled that the ancient Games were nothing to do with medals made up of precious metals or national flags and anthems, but rather about “individual strength, skill, training, discipline and commitment”.

“It is sad,” he said, “when the emphasis today is solely on achievement. The earliest emphasis of the Games was on taking part rather than on achievement and success.”

Referring to New Testament, he urged those present to see “life as a race, a marathon, with only one thing necessary for us Christians, and that is not the winning so much as the keeping our eye on Jesus, remembering that our faith is not first and foremost built on teachings or doctrines or rules and regulations but around a person, the person of Jesus.

“The very important question we need to ask ourselves is this: ‘Is the person of Jesus real in my life or just notional?’ In your relationship with the Lord are you a Sunday acquaintance or a weekday friend?

“Run the race of life always with your eyes fixed on Jesus, knowing that this race isn’t for winners but rather for finishers.”

The young people are receiving training and catechesis about how to be a true Christian presence at the Olympic Games. They will then have the opportunity to go into the local areas and perform acts of service. These will include inviting local young people to engage in sport, to be a part of music and drama workshops and to be artistic and creative.

Daily liturgies, from the Office of Readings to the celebration of the Mass, are presented in a variety of languages. A number of Olympians have already agreed to visit the camp during the coming week.

  • http://www.catholictruthscotland.com/ EditorCT

    What a hypocrite!  The Bishop of Brentwood is clearly not bothered about replacing the “light” of Catholic Faith and the God-given moral order with the darkness of evil because he is promoting dissent in his diocese.http://spuc-director.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/pro-abortion-practising-roman-catholic.html

    The penultimate paragraph of the above report says all we need to know about the Bishop of Brentwood: if his Catholic schools were truly Catholic, there wouldn’t be any need for the young people he is sending like lambs to the slaughter to “receive training and catechesis about how to be a true Christian presence at the Olympic games”. Ridiculous. If all they are doing is “going into the local areas and performing acts of service….inviting young people to engage in sport, be part of music and drama workshops, be artistic and creative” – all they need is a short course in humanism.

    What a load of tosh.

    I bet not one of these young people could answer the simplest question about the Catholic Faith.  THAT is what the bishop should be attending to, not trying to be a “presence” at the Olympic (I’m sick of them, what about you) Games.

  • Fr. Thomas Poovathinkal

    IT IS SAID IN THE PRIMITIVE CHURCH EVERY CHRISTIAN WAS AN APOSTLE. THIS SHOULD BE THE IDEAL FOR EVERY SERIOUS PERSON WHO LOVES CHRIST THE LORD. AND YOUTH IS THE TIME TO  SEEK OUT OUR LOVE.

    APOSTLESHIP CONSISTS IN BEING WITH THE LORD AND MOVING OUT WITH THE LORD TO PROCLAIM HIS WORD, “TO BE WITH HIM AND SENT OUT TO PREACH” THE WORD.

    UNLESS THE LORD COMMISSIONS US PERSONALLY FOR THIS WE CANNOT BE APOSTLES, HENCE WE SHOULD PRAY CEASELESSLY MEDITATING ON HIS WORD.

    ONLY APOSTLES CAN SAVE THE WORLD WITH THE PROCLAMATION OF HIS WORD AND NOT MERE PRIESTS AND RELIGIOUS. WE HAVE HAD TOO MANY OF THEM.

    LET US PROMOTE APOSTLESHIP, THE MOST PLEASING WORK OF THE LORD, FOR IT BRINGS SALVATION TO THE WORLD THROUGH THE PROCLAMATION OF THE WORD IN THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT ACCOMPANIED BY THE SIGNS WORKS OF THE KINGDOM.

    THE TWELVE JESUS SENT OUT TO PROCLAIM HIS WORD. WITH THE SEVENTY TWO ALSO HE DID THE SAME. TO THE YOUNG MAN WHOM HE CALLED AND WHO YET WANTED TO GO AND BURY HIS FATHER, JESUS SAID, “LET THE DEAD BURY THEIR OWN DEAD, AS FOR YOU, COME AND PROCLAIM THE KINGDOM OF GOD.”

    WHAT BETTER INSPIRATION DO WE NEED TO DO THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING IN THIS PASSING WORLD!

  • http://www.catholictruthscotland.com/ EditorCT

    I meant to highlight the astouning error  in Bishop McMahon’s claim that “…our faith is not first and foremost built on teachings or doctrines or rules and regulations but around a person, the person of Jesus.”

    Theologically illiterate, thisi s pure Protestantism.  Cardinal Newman, ironically quoted elsewhere in the bishops’ pearls of non-wisdom, insists that we must not separate Christ from His  Church:  “Christ gave us the Church to save us from unending reasonings and speculations of our own”, he wrote.  Thus, Bishop McMahon fails to understand that the “doctrines and rules and regulations” to which he so disparagingly refers, fall under the divine authority of the one and only Church of Christ.

    How long is it until he is due to retire?  Please tell me, soon. Very soon.

  • Athanasius

    I belive the Bishop of Bentwood is one year past retirement age. Born June 1936. Hopefully his replaceemnt is one of the batch we could expect in the next round of appointments – and hopefully they follow the same type of appointee as Shrewsbury and Portsmouth.

  • A Believer in The Way

    The early followers of The Way were faithful to Jesus. With that, what need for doctrine and dogmas?
    The majority of the comments I read show a lack of faith in The Way and a reliance I doctrine and dogmas, which few of them could define, Im sure.

  • http://www.catholictruthscotland.com/ EditorCT

    Nonsense. When some of those “early followers” (in fact, disciples who walked with Jesus on earth) expressed doubt in the doctrine of His Real Presence, and refused to stay with Him, Our Lord asked the rest of the infant Church if they, too, would go.  He made no attempt to stop the dissenters.    He also said: “if you love Me, you will keep my commandments.”  Pretty “dogmatic” all in, wouldn’t you say?

    The idea that Our Lord was a wishy washy liberal hippy type who was doing no more than setting up a kind of holy welfare state, is plain daft. Gerragrip.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lee.lovelockjemmott Lee Der Heerskinderen Lovelock

    We, in the Diocese of the poor aforesaid Bishop, are praying ceselessly for a better Bishop, who actually teaches the faith and lives the faith according to the tachings of 2000+ years and not the aberration since the modernsitic culmination in the 60′s. Just look at our Cathedral and see how deranged this Bishop is regarding liturgy and orthodox Cathoic exposition of the faith !

  • Gypsycook

    “The earliest emphasis of the Games was on taking part rather than on achievement and success.””

    Was it not Christians who put a stop to the ancient Olympic Games?–and why?–because they could not stomach the nudity; it might remind people of sex!- ugh!

  • NF

    In the Book of Joshua, before the Israelites journeyed across the river Jordan into the Promised Land they spent three days preparing themselves. Many of them were young and had not gone into battle before, but they did know and love the Lord.
     
    The young people that have gathered for the Joshua Camp have come from all over the world, some of them into this country for the first time. You are right; that if we did not know our faith already then we would be lambs to the slaughter, this is not the case however. The catechesis received has been to the benefit of all participants in different ways to grow deeper in their relationship with God. This is nothing new as we should be doing this everyday of our lives on our pilgrimage to our promised land of Heaven. This time is also being used to get to know each other as well as God, because if we cannot show unity and love between ourselves then what hope have we got in sharing it with others?
     
    In regards to the activities going on; it is more than sports, music and drama. We are showing people that God meets us where we are. This may be through the sacrament of reconciliation, through personal testimony or in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
     
    We would all be grateful for your prayers.

  • Kevin

    If that is true, it would seem like a socially responsible thing to do.

  • Sweetjae

    What a hypocrite! Of course we have to follow what the Lord commands us to do, it’s not the issue here, by doing these things out of the sense of a requirement is missing the most important aspect which we will be judged at the end…that is acting out of love for the Person of Christ. This traditionalist lady is so bogged down by her flawed hermeneutics making Tradition as rules and regulations which she is guilty of as the liberals she abhored. What a baloney!

  • Sweetjae

    Another baloney from a traditionalist blabbering! You missed the point! If we just do the commandments of Jesus in the sense of fulfilling them as requirements is lifeless and empty as St. Paul taught, that missing the most important aspect…doing out of love for the Person of Jesus Christ.

    This lady is so bogged down by her flawed analysis and interpretation of tradition that she ultimately believes she and the people like her as having superior interpretive authority than the Pontiffs after VII. What a baloney!

  • Sweetjae

    Though I agree that the Bishop should not have invited a known supporter of abortion, it’s a scandal as quilty as this EditorCT claiming to be catholic yet attack and undermine the Pope and VII.

  • Saunders9

    I think it’s wonderful what the Sion Community are doing. I think for me bringing the Gospel to people is important. I think us Catholics can get into the mode of turning up to Mass and going home. No! We need to evangelize those in the Church and outside. Set up prayer groups and bible study groups etc. I’m going on a course at the Sion Community is October and really looking forward to it. Bishop Thomas? I don’t really know much about him. I suppose he is more of a liberal bishop but he has prayed outside Abortion clinics. I wish to thank Bishop Thomas for his service but I hope the new Bishop has a definite agenda which includes evangelizing the Catholic community and then those outside. I do get a bit tired of people giving it the big one but then have no plans themselves how to change it. Where is my prayer group or bible study? Will someone actually say hello to me at Mass? What can I do better? A very tired Catholic who needs invigorating.

  • Gypsycook

    If you de-convert and become an atheistic philosopher you need never again worry about prayer groups, bible studies, or whether people at Mass will say hello to you; (Is that what Christianity is all about?).
    I do not charge for my professional advice, but donations are welcome.

  • Gypsycook

    Why did you not try and ban the recent London games? After all, there were plenty of scantily dressed females to offend you.

  • Sweetjae

    This Athanasius guy is a SSPX member but a closet Sedevacantist.

  • Patrickhowes

    It did not work from the amount of one night stands and condoms distributed!

  • Ameh Elaigwu

    Why don’t u try sounding optimistic for once…and avoid destructive criticisms. I think you should be asking urself questions like ‘What have I personally done to spread the faith as a witness of the gospel?’ as Christ urged in Acts 1 vs 8

  • Ameh Elaigwu

    And do you think your ‘belief in the way’ is not itself a Doctrine and Dogma?? Wondering what could be your definition of ‘doctrine and dogma’??