Vibrant Diocese resonates with energy
By Daniel Ang, Pastoral Planning Office, Catholic Outlook, June 2012
More than 850 people have now participated in Faith in Our Future, our consultation process towards our Diocesan Pastoral Plan. Online submissions continue to be received through our website and the remaining parish dates have also been confirmed and are available online at: www.faithinourfuture.org.au
Work has also begun on the structure of the pastoral plan as well as research into pastoral initiatives and opportunities in light of the consultation feedback gathered as well as our existing and future needs.
Thank you to all who have been a part of the conversation and shared their experiences and ideas with us so far.
Institute for Mission
|Consultation session held at the Institute for Mission. Photos: Alphonsus Fok & Grace Lu.|
On 18 April, a special consultation was held at the Institute for Mission, bringing together past and present students of the Institute, CatholicCare ambassadors and pastoral associates from across the Diocese of Parramatta.
It was an opportunity to tap into particular sources of vitality that animate the life of the Diocese, and draw on the pastoral experience and theological insight of lay men and women and religious who are at the coalface of ministry in our communities.
Four extension questions focused on the area of better communication between the Diocese, diocesan agencies and parish communities; the engagement of parents with the faith through our Catholic schools; and the means of increased collaboration between parishes.
Personal outreach to others was stressed in the area of evangelisation, with intentional communities of disciples understood as arising out of relationships of witness, mutual support and ongoing invitation to growth and communion.
The use of social media was identified as a complementary part of building relations and connections with a wider audience, and the connection of sacramental programs, particularly at Baptism, and social activities including playgroups was underlined as being of particular significance.
|Consultation at Good Shepherd Parish, Plumpton.|
On 19 April, we gathered with the parishioners of Good Shepherd Parish, Plumpton. Parishioners were eager to engage with the overview of the Diocese, commenting particularly on the potential of the Diocese given the youthfulness of the faith community.
During the table feedback, some of the challenges named included the lack of sustained commitment in ministry due to burnout, a reality which invites a reconsideration of the ways in which we carry out and support ministry.
The presence and energy of faith and life groups such as the Legion of Mary was noted, as well as the rich experience of ethnic and cultural diversity in the parish, which reflects to a great degree the vibrancy of the wider Diocese. The need to foster the integration of these diverse groups was raised as an ongoing challenge.
St Marys and St Clair
Fifty-eight parishioners from Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, St Marys, and Holy Spirit Parish, St Clair, participated in our consultation on 3 May at St Marys. It provided a valuable opportunity to hear of the pastoral initiatives already underway in the area.
One of the prominent themes was the integration of diverse ethnic cultures and faith taking place at St Clair, including in the celebration of the liturgy.
For its part, St Marys shared the vital outreach to youth in the local community enabled by the Don Bosco Youth Centre. It underscored the need to consider local services and commitments already in place in the development of the Diocesan Pastoral Plan and affirmed the strong foundation on which the plan hopes to build.
Love and responsibility
|Consultation held at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Seven Hills|
On 11 May, some 76 parishioners from Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Seven Hills, and St Bernadette’s Parish, Lalor Park, gathered to share their hopes for pastoral planning.
The atmosphere was electric in the desire to engage across many pastoral issues. The initiation of some networking of ministries between these and other parishes in the local area gave hope for more collaborative approaches to ministry in the future.
The issue of low participation rates among Catholic school families in the worshipping life of the Church was a recurrent theme, shared across a number of tables and priorities.
A delegate of the parents’ representation group to Catholic schools was present and shared her hope for greater engagement and collaboration of Catholic schools, parent representatives and diocesan pastoral planning.
A response was identified in the need to strengthen and form the faith of parents, enabling faith to be passed on to children by word and witness.
Updates and latest newsFor more comprehensive accounts of the parish consultations mentioned above, subscribe to our blog: www.faithinourfuture.org.au
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