Faith in Our Future Interim Report



Faith in Our Future News Story
Full house...the Pastoral Planning Consultation at Castle Hill on 24 February, attended by Parishioners from St Bernadette’s Castle Hill and St Madeleine’s Kenthurst. Photo: Alphonsus Fok & Grace Lu

The first interim report from the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta's Pastoral Planning Team has been released, summarising the key themes and insights from the first series of Parish consultations conducted throughout the Diocese.

The core objective of the consultation phase of “Faith in Our Future” is to invite responses from Catholics in the Diocese of Parramatta to five pastoral priorities: family life, youth, ethnic diversity, support of lay and priestly vocations, and outreach or the mission of a new evangelisation. It is these priorities that will focus and shape the life, ministries and structures of the Diocese in the next five years and beyond.

Around 700 people have participated in the eight parish consultation sessions to date. Of these approximately 54 per cent were women and 46 per cent men.

There have been 65 online submissions via the diocesan pastoral planning website and 370 subscriptions to the “Faith in Our Future” blog and news service. The website attracts an average of 300 visitors per week.

There was a high degree of consistency in the priority selected by participants thus far, with “family life” being the most popular area of concentration with “youth” the second most popular priority of discussion overall.

An initial review of the qualitative data gathered at the parish consultation sessions and online submissions has revealed the following perceptions of the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities in the Parramatta Diocese:

Areas of strength identified

  • Provision and support of youth activities, especially World Youth Days

  • The Catholic school system

  • Strong participation in sacramental programs

  • Children’s liturgies

  • The affirmation of family life as valuable

  • The availability of faith formation opportunities for laity

  • The continuing commitment to RCIA

  • Strong ministry of SRE catechists in the state school system

  • The charitable works of CatholicCare and St Vincent de Paul

 Areas of weakness identified

  • Difficulty in retaining young people’s engagement with the Church, particularly liturgy

  • Weak connections with families post-baptism

  • Lack of consistency in welcoming newcomers to parish communities

  • Weak faith connections between schools and parishes

  • Poor faith engagement with parents through schools

  • Lack of knowledge and understanding of various ethnic cultures within the Diocese

  • Scarcity of mothers’ groups and support for parents with children under school age

  • The challenge of inviting new people into ministry and the renewal of ministries

  • Lack of knowledge in the area of Scripture and other areas of Catholic faith

  • Lack of resources to support participation of families in Church life

  • The need to accentuate the positive aspects of our Church and parishes

 Areas of opportunity identified

  • To establish ongoing connections and communication with families in the parish

  • To provide better support for new and established married couples

  • To promote and communicate more effectively about existing and emerging groups, programs and services already on offer throughout the Diocese

  • To cultivate prayer experiences and community outside the context of Mass

  • To improve the quality of liturgies to foster engagement

  • To increase the study of Scripture and familiarity with the Catholic tradition, including methods and styles of prayer

  • To provide good and welcome ‘entry level’ resources and experiences for the ‘unchurched’ or enquiring

  • To share liturgies, programs and resources across parishes where appropriate (eg - youth Masses, resources and personnel)

  • To provide formation for lay men and women in evangelisation (eg - courses and retreats)

Read the full Interim Report story - including responses from the Pastoral Planning Team and Most Rev Anthony Fisher OP - at the Faith in Our Future site

Tags: April   Interim Report   Bishop Anthony

« Return to news list