Imagination is key to growth in the diocese and to people becoming what God wants us to be, Bishop Charles Drennan told the more than 2,000 people gathered for a Year of Faith Mass in Palmerston North’s Pascal St Stadium on 4 August.
‘Satisfaction with stagnation is a death wish; the opposite of love… [but] if we pray, if we hope, if we expect, if we work and if we shepherd for growth it will come. And by growth I mean a deepening of our faith and also, today, I want to say let’s grow in numbers, too.’
The imagination, he said, leads us into the reality of how God wants us to be. ‘Imagination releases our creativity, liberates us from bureaucracy and sameness, transforms obstacles into challenges, lethargy into energy, laziness into passion, and allows us t
o experience afresh, through the sometimes worn out symptoms of Christianity, the living reality of God himself.’
We were people of hope, he said. ‘The Spirit was God’s imagination at work which she experiences as play, crafting his world, carving us, reworking us, into characters ready to play out a new page of God’s unfolding story for our world.’
Visiting in the diocese, Bishop Charles said he met people who dared ‘to imagine new outcomes, to embrace new initiatives, to imagine an even deeper faith, shaping every aspect of their person, their life’.
Turning to the 50 candidates for Confirmation, he read a letter from one explaining their wish for the sacrament.
‘…to announce myself in front of my Catholic Community is something I am proud to do for it is part of my hikoi tapu – sacred journey – to God. I have always enjoyed seeing and participating in the Eucharist because of the unity I sense when everyone partakes of the body and blood of Hehu Karaiti. With his own body and blood he forgives me and draws me closer to himself, and to his teachings. I am in my final year at College. I am now ready. It is fitting that I be confirmed so that I establish myself as an adult in my religion of Catholicism katorikatanga.
‘Confirmation candidates, today the Holy Spirit comes to you bearing seven extraordinary gifts that will shape you for the rest of your life: wisdom, understanding, right judgement, courage, knowledge, reverence, and awe. These gifts are not skills or talents or achievements. They are extraordinary because they are nothing less than God’s own life, God’s way of being, placed by the Holy Spirit in you.
‘And those seven divine gifts once opened and lived, grow within us into what we call the 12 fruits of the Holy Spirit: charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control and chastity. Shaped by these gifts and fruits you will become the true you, the real you, the you of your soaring imagination, your highest aspirations, your greatest dreams.
‘With your sponsors and whanau we all say thank you for your courage to step up and embrace our shared life of faith.
‘Inspired by today’s great liturgy, great sacrament and great festival of faith may we all be deepened in our faith, and experience more joyfully the great workings of God within us. ‘Accompanied by our forebears in faith and all the Saints may we bring hope and renewed purpose to our family members, our schools and our communities both Church and civic of Manawatu and Tararua.’