‘The 12’: A Brief History
‘The 12’ was born out of the prayer. While on sabbatical in February 2011, Fr. Gerry Campbell, a priest of the Archdiocese of Armagh was pondering on the despondency he felt while home for Christmas 2010. The Catholic Church in Ireland seemed battered into silence from abuse scandal fallout, evangelisation seemed to be on hold, clouds of fear and pessimism surrounded pastoral leaders and there was an attitude of ‘ let’s wade it through the storm’ in the hope of a new dawn in the Church.
On a wet spring morning by reading Mark 13: 13-19, Fr. Gerry focused on the first 12 Jesus called. They were certainly a mixed group of personalities from various backgrounds: fishermen, A Zealot, A Tax Collector, A Treasurer, Family Men. Jesus trained these disciples and sent them out twice, as apostles to evangelise (Matt. 10: 1-4 & 28: 16-20).
Fr. Gerry then asked himself the question ‘ What if Jesus were to call 12 more people again’? – Men and women from various backgrounds and life experiences, Baptised in the Holy Spirit and eager to serve Him. Fr. Gerry said set about drawing up various drafts of this group would look like. Various people with whom he had worked with came to his mind as he was writing.
When he returned home in July 2011 he set about calling people together to reflect on his vision. and he asked for their ideas. At one meeting twenty-five people attended but as time went on this slowly reduced to four or five. In his frustration, Fr. Gerry was nearly giving up until one day in prayer he heard ‘Is this about you or Me?’ He realised in his efforts to get the best, most talented group he could find, he refused to let Jesus in on the plan. So he and the small group prayed that the Lord would send people – and He did! We may not have chosen each other as fellow disciples of the Lord but we did fully trust in His choice and His plan for us.
Following this we met on a monthly basis where we in prayer devised a Mission Statement, a ‘12 Prayer, a 12-Fold Statement of Commitment and a format for meetings. We were finally commissioned by Cardinal Seán Brady, Emeritus of Armagh on 12th December 2012 (12/12/12) in St. Patrick’s Cathedral Armagh.
To date ‘The 12’ have led a Pastoral Area Mission (3 parishes in one) and New Life in the Spirit Seminars, trained to become leaders and intercessors in Unbound Deliverance Ministry and to date this ministry is offer at least once a month in the Archdiocese. Three members of our group have trained as ‘Called & Gifted’ trainers and all members have discerned there charisms through their leadership. This may not seem like a lot but one thing ‘The 12’ have learned is to be patient and to follow the Lord’s lead. This sometimes seems slower than we want to go but as Fr. Teilard de Chardin S.J. advised we must “Trust in the Slow Work of God…..”
This 12 like the original 12 belong to Our Lord Jesus Christ. We surrender ourselves to Him. Through the power of the Holy Spirit we collectively see the way Our Lord Jesus is leading us —– and we follow.