Staying Awake this Advent
We have entered the season of Advent, a time of hope and expectation of the coming of Christ, our Shepherd and the Light of the World. Our Gospel for this new church year is the Gospel of Luke. Our readings, and the season as a whole, only fills us with a greater expectation of the ways in which Christ might be ‘born anew’ in our hearts in the coming years in our own Diocese of Parramatta.
In a sense the pastoral planning process we have embarked on together is a part of that wakefulness, a concrete expression of our need to be alert to our own identity in Christ, to the needs and desires of our many parish communities, to the needs of each other and those beyond the Church. As people of faith the invitation is to make ‘room in the inn’ for the unique reality of Jesus who tells us that God is where we are.
As Bishop Anthony shared in his recent pastoral message, many may well be feeling demoralised at this time. These are difficult times to say the least and our hearts go out to the victims of abuse, their families and to all our communities. The call to conversion this Advent rings more urgently than ever before.
Our hope as a Church may seem rather obscure at this time but our conversations with the many hundreds of parishioners and communities involved in this planning process has been a reminder to us of the goodwill and passion for the Gospel and the Church. There is a genuine desire to move together and to work together in response to the mission that Jesus has given us: to promote the Kingdom of God, the abundance of God’s life, in the everyday places of our lives. This combined witness, this communion in mission, has been a source of enduring hope for us in these difficult times.
In the remaining weeks of the year, we are gathering with the heads of our diocesan agencies to discuss new media possibilities and recommendations toward the pastoral plan. We will also consider propositions put forward by the recently concluded Synod on the New Evangelisation, discerning which of these might be germane for our Diocese.
Work on pastoral recommendations related to parish communities and their life will be developed in the New Year as we draw not only from your consultation feedback but also pastoral initiatives and best practice happening in other dioceses as well as abroad. This gives us the best possible options as a diocese experiencing rapid growth, cultural diversity and change.
The upcoming December issue of the Catholic Outlook contains our overview of the year though, as readers of our blog, you will be already well versed in the events and developments to date! You might note that Bishop Anthony has just opened a Twitter account so you can keep connected at www.twitter.com/AnthonyFisherOP in addition to our ‘Faith in Our Future’ planning website and media. Wishing you a blessed and peaceful Advent
Yours in Christ,
Fr Paul Marshall and Daniel Ang
Pastoral Planning Team
Posted by Daniel Ang at 4:42 PM