From little things
Other Church institutions, basic communities and small communities, movements, and forms of association are a source of enrichment for the Church, raised up by the Spirit for evangelizing different areas and sectors. Frequently they bring a new evangelizing fervour and a new capacity for dialogue with the world whereby the Church is renewed. ( Extract from Francis, Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium)
The journey began in the heart of Fr. Vincent Doyle, a Catholic priest, in the Bellingen Parish of Mary Mother of God, in New South Wales, Australia. His diary notes reveal a love and a desire to form a support network to bring God’s salvation and peace to the Anawim. ‘God’s poor, who are heavily burdened and spiritually oppressed from their life experiences so in 1983, I was prompted by the Holy Spirit to write down an outline for the Anawim Ministry for God’s poor’. (Extract from Fr. Doyle’s diary)
Father Vincent Doyle was born in Maclean New South Wales on the 11th November 1935. He was the eldest son of seven children born to Eileen and Francis Doyle. He entered the Marist Brothers Minor Seminary in Springwood in 1950 -1953 where he was introduced to Contemplative Prayer and began to study the writings of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. He then went on to the Major Seminary St. Patrick’s College Manly from 1954 -1959 and was then ordinated a Priest for the Lismore Diocese at Grafton. In the next ten years he served as Priest and Administrator of various Parishes until he went to Wewak in Papua New Guinea for four years as a Missionary. Returning to Australia 1974 he was appointed as Administrator and Assistant Priest in Murwillumbah. (Extract from Fr. Doyle’s diary)
He was involved in the Renewal Program and went to Rome where he heard Pope Paul V1 give the guidelines for the Renewal to twenty thousand people from forty-eight countries. Faithfull to the guidelines he returned to Australia and his work begun as He served in Charismatic Renewal, attended International conferences, became Liaison Priest and Chaplain for Australian Charismatic Renewal. Over twenty years (1980- 2011) he was Chaplain and Spiritual Director to Prayer Groups, the Cursillo Movement, the Beginnings Experience and Natural Family Planning. On his Retirement in 1998 due to ill health Bishop Satterthwaite appointed him as Parish Priest at Holy Spirit Parish, Byron Bay and requested that he continue as Chaplain to the groups that he had formed and ministered to.
During this period he was instrumental in developing an Aboriginal Outreach with Elders Mumma Shirl, Della Walker and Lenore Parker to form Magpie Ministries. Today this ministry is led by Angelus member Anglican Minster Rev. Lenore Parker as she carries the Angelus prayer ministry to many Aboriginal families and communities.
Bishop Satterthwaite supported the ministry from 1982 from the early days in the Mariah Community through to the formation of the Angelus. After Bishop Satterthwaite’s retirement the Most Rev. Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett continued the generous support and encouragement for the work and progress of the ministry.
Mrs. Murphy’s Vision
Mrs. Valerie Murphy is a wife, mother and grandmother as well as co-founder of the Angelus Association. Her involvement with the Charismatic Renewal began in 1979 where she experienced the healing power of God’s love and wanted to share that experience. Mrs. Murphy has undertaken the Spiritual Exercises in the Twentieth and Nineteenth Annotations has a long history of involvement with Ignatian retreats and literature. In 1982, with her husband, she co-foundered Moriah Community, a refuge and healing center for the marginalized in central NSW. While ministering to their obvious needs, the Holy Spirit guided her on how to apply God's spiritual gifts in a practical way for the healing of life's hurts. Mrs. Murphy recognised a need existed for the poor to be able to minister to the poor. They developed a support network for those who had no emotional, physical or spiritual support in place. Fr. Doyle became the Chaplain to the Moriah Community as it became a safe haven where people could come and stay. (Extract from Mrs Murphy’s notes)
Fr. Vincent Doyle’s Vision
The original vision of ministry was described by Fr. Doyle as ‘A Vision for the Anawim of Mary Immaculate’. The vision is recorded and has been extracted from original diaries and notes written in his own hand. . As always evident in Fr. Doyle’s life was his devotion to Mary as model for all folllowers of Jesus.
‘As a parish priest the Lord placed upon my heart a love and a desire to do something for the Anawim’. (Extract from Fr. Doyle’s diary)
He understood the ‘Anawim’ as the Hebrew word for God’s poor, the humble, the needy, the oppressed. It was to the Anawim that Jesus promised the riches of the kingdom of heaven in Matthew 5:3 “How happy are the poor in spirit; theirs is the kingdom of heaven”. Fr. Doyle believed that this term appled to all of us and especially himself.
The diaries and notes reveal that this prayer ministry with the Anawim nurtured spiritual growth and helped the individuals to embrace their weaknesses. The fruit of this prayer He named as the virtue of Spiritual Poverty. Coming to a point where they truly knew that they can do nothing without God’s help. This became a prayer tool to discipline their thoughts and fears by learning to be still and listen to God through the use of contemplative prayer.
Contemplative Prayer was the cornerstone of Fr. Doyle’s prayer ministry which is grounded in the virtue of Spiritual Poverty. He says ‘the healing ministry is then able to flow from God’s love poured into each of us and we can then pray, commit, support and assist others according to the prompting of the Holy Spirit ‘. (Extract from Fr. Doyle’s diary)
Combining the visions to form a new Association
Flowing from his faithfulness to Pope Paul’s call for new groups and about thirteen years of witnessing the steady progression of people at Moriah using Contemplative Prayer, Inner Healing and Intercessory Prayer led them formalise their vision. In a collaborative effort a group of forty people gathered for the inauguration of the Angelus Association, on the 25th March 1996. They came from different parts of Australia and each person had personally experienced the healing touch of God’s love. Under the guidance of Father Vincent Doyle and Mrs. Murphy, the group decided to create a community support network for God’s ‘Anawim’, and to provide prayer ministry and teaching resources. These original Anawim members were heavily involved in the rush of activity and many are still actively involved in the Association’s cell groups.
Ten years later in 2006 the Angelus Association decided to seek official recognition for the organization. It was resolved to review the current practices, constitution and vision of the organization. An audit process was put in place to access the original intention against what was and had developed on the ground in the new evangelizing fervour and the new capacity for dialogue and renewal.
Over the next year there was a deconstruction of the vision, mission and the ministry to examine the praxis on the ground. It was soon apparent that the organization had moved away from some of the vision and expanded in other areas beyond the original documents. This review resulted in approval by the Board to rewrite the constitution but to safe guard the primary elements as set down by the Founders whilst aligning the current evolving growth of the organization and its members to the requirements of church and statutory bodies that influenced or controlled the activity of the organization.