By Citra Sidhu IN HIS first pastoral letter as Archbishop of Westminster, Archbishop Cormac MurphyO'Connor called on the people of the diocese to make the Church "a truly effective sign of God's presence in the world today".
In the letter, delivered on Pentecost Sunday at parishes throughout the diocese, the archbishop urged people to pray daily, attend Mass regularly and to bear witness to God in daily life.
The archbishop said that the strength of the Church lay in its message of "truth and hope".
He said: "It is about the manner in which we should live, following the ways of Jesus Christ whose life was spent in service and sacrifice for others.
"It is a message that helps all people to realise that we are all on a journey back to God and that this world is but a preparation for the next. These truths are vital as we look out at our troubled, broken world."
In his homily earlier that morning at an ecumenical service at the Millennium Dome, Archbishop MurphyO'Connor spoke about the nature of faith and what it meant to believe. He said he was struck by the number of people who did not believe, but still considered themselves spiritual. "They recognise that it is part of our human nature to look for something or someone who will give mean ing and purpose, bring healing and hope. They seek an answer, but are unsure where to find it," he said.
Because of this, he believed that now more than ever, Christians needed to have the confidence to speak openly about what they believed and why it was Good News.
"It is Good News because it contains the truth of God's abiding love for us. It holds the spiritual yearnings of people today, just as much as when Jesus preached 2,000 years ago," he said.
With June 17 marking the first anniversary of the death of Cardinal Basil Hume,
Archbishop MurphyO'Connor will celebrate evening prayer for the dead in the chapel of St Gregory at 5pm on Friday June 16.
The archbishop will then preside over a Memorial Mass at 5.30pm.