Westminster celebrates 'At Your Word, Lord'

 More than 800 leaders from Westminster's 'At Your Word, Lord' renewal programme, attended a special Core Community Congress at Westminster Cathedral on Saturday. Representing 137 parishes from across the Diocese, the Congress celebrated the achievements of the three-year programme and shared ideas for continuing the pastoral and spiritual renewal of the Diocese in 2006 and beyond. The day opened with a welcome from Fr Stuart Wilson, AYWL director. He said: "We began as individuals but now we come together as communities to tell the story of Jesus. Through 'At Your Word, Lord', all of us have met Jesus afresh through the Gospel and through the Eucharist. Today is a day when we can say thank you for all that we have achieved." Commenting on the achievements of the programme, Fr Wilson said: "We have a new vision in the Diocese and in our parishes and this is a new understanding of our communion with God and a new understanding of being part of a vibrant community. Over the last three years we have created a new sense of mission and all now have a renewed desire for our lives to witness further the message of God's love." In a keynote address Fr John McDade SJ, Principal of Heythrop College, said that 'At Your Word, Lord' was helping to revitalize the relationship between the common priesthood of the baptized and the ministerial priesthood of the ordained in the Diocese of Westminster: "Perhaps what we're seeing with the success of 'At Your Word, Lord', is the Church being made from below. I think we're ready for this. That's not a threat to the Church being made 'from above' through the ministry of bishops and priests: it complements it. The divine gifts are poured out through the whole community for the building up of the whole community. We're experiencing ways in which the common priesthood and the ministerial priesthood are developing together in a spirituality of communion and trust." The Congress closed with a special Mass of Celebration led by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor. In his homily, he praised the energy, skills and dedication of Fr Wilson, the 'At Your Word, Lord' team and the Core Communities, faith groups leaders and other participants. "In At Your Word, Lord' the people of our Diocese, assisted by your leadership, have shown themselves to be courageous, faithful, and willing to put out into the deep. And this is why, my dear friends, I have no hesitation in asking us, now that we are out in deep waters, to go deeper: to deepen our prayer life, to love the Mystery and Gift of the Mass which is the summit of the celebration of our faith; to help people to know more about Jesus and His Body, which we call the Church; to gather people together so that we can walk together as pilgrims in our parishes, in our communities, in our diocese" The 'At Your Word, Lord process' was launched in November 2002 with a Conference for Priests and in December 2002 with an invitation for parish participation from Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor. The Launch of the 'At Your Word, Lord' programme was marked at Wembley Arena in September 2003 when over 10,000 people joined together celebrating in Mass the beginning of the journey of renewal. Over 20,000 people have participated in some 2,000 faith sharing groups which have been set up in parishes through the AYWL process. Source: Archbishop's House

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