THEOLOGY OF MISSION RETREAT – Rockhampton, March 2015
Theology of Mission Retreat
Happy are those who love God … They are a light in the darkness for the upright; they are generous, merciful and just … People such as this will be honoured (Psalm 112)
The understanding of leadership as the ability to pursue the greater good whether or not anyone else is going in that direction (Chittister, 2011), was at the heart of the Theology of Mission Retreat held in Rockhampton in March.
Keynote speaker, Father Anthony Mellor, began his presentation by situating mission at the heart of the Church, and focused on Pope Francis’ call for missionary leadership and a missionary heart for all of those exercising leadership in the church. Father Anthony used the writings of Pope Francis, who certainly personifies missionary leadership and missionary heart, to establish the irrevocable link between the light of faith and a pastoral spirituality of mission. In Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis defines a missionary heart:
“… missionary heart …never closes itself off, never retreats into its own security, never opts for rigidity and defensiveness. It realizes that it has to grow in its own understanding of the Gospel and in discerning the paths of the Spirit, and so it always does what good it can, even if in the process, its shoes get soiled by the mud of the street” (# 45).
Leadership which is prepared to go where there is no road and leave a path (Chittister), is also most evident in the lives of the founders of the Presentation, Mercy and Missionary Franciscan Sisters. Marlette Black (Congregational Leader of the Presentation Sisters in Queensland), Catherine White (Australian Leader of the Missionary Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception) and Catherine Reuter (Congregational Leader of the Sisters of Mercy, Brisbane) shared the founding stories of their congregations and their response to God’s call to missionary leadership.
Marie Melville rsm presented participants with the framework for a charism and culture audit which examined the practical expressions of charism in an organisation.
On Thursday evening, participants travelled to St Joseph’s Cathedral in Rockhampton to celebrate St Joseph’s Day eucharist with Bishop Michael McCarthy and the local community.