Pope Francis has strongly outlined anew a comprehensive vision for the future of the Catholic church, forcefully telling an emblematic meeting of the entire Italian church community here that our times require a deeply merciful Catholicism that is unafraid of change.

In a 49-minute speech to a decennial national conference of the Italian church — which is bringing together some 2,200 people from 220 dioceses to this historic renaissance city for five days — Francis said Catholics must realize: “We are not living an era of change but a change of era.”

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As we prepare to enter the season of Advent what does this look for us at St Canices?

“I would like an Italian church that is unsettled, always closer to the abandoned, the forgotten, the imperfect,” said Francis. “I desire a happy church with face of a mother, who understands, accompanies, caresses.” “Dream of this church, believe in it, innovate it with freedom,” exhorted the pope.

Join us for the Advent readings ‘between the masses’ starts the 29th November, 9.30 to 10.15 each Sunday in Advent.

What does it mean for us to gaze on the face of Jesus?

How is each of us being drawn into a life which will understand, accompany and caresses?