Rydalmere- Dundas Valley: Openness to new ways of being Parish



Last Wednesday night (23 May), despite State of Origin football, brave souls from Holy Name Parish at Rydalmere and St. Bernadette’s at Dundas Valley braved the cold and engaged with the issues of pastoral planning. The group posed the question of how, as parishes, do we know which families are in need? And how do we care for those families when their plight is known?

Family Life and Youth were the big issues for discussion. In terms of Supporting Family Life an issue named was the need to turn and look outwards to the families attending Mass and most especially the need to look out for new families. Discussion pointed to outreach to new and ethnic families and while there was a real openness for inclusion, it was felt that new pathways could be explored in terms of welcome such as forming a pastoral support group, welfare committee and/or family groups where areas of need can be met in a more personal environment.


Some suggestions for the Connecting of Youth included surveying high school and primary students to see what they want and need and then to initiate this survey in co-operation with the schools. Also, to employ an active youth worker to be shared between parishes and to have more involvement from the Deanery. Another thought was the need to design special Liturgy e.g. a musical band and engage the young people in music and liturgy.

With engaging ethnic groups in the parish, a suggestion was to initiate smaller groups of families sharing a meal and story-telling on a regular basis after Saturday night Mass. Over time, all parishioners would receive an invitation to come to a meal. The evening would begin with a fun ice-breaker to put people at ease followed by a meal and sharing about family and culture.


New Evangelisation: There was a strong conviction that, as Catholics, we are reluctant to share the truth and the meaning of our faith and that we are too nice in our approach and need to be more firm and forward about professing what we believe. It was felt that we reframe the school RE program K-12 especially in the State schools: there was the sense that the current program is pitched too high for unchurched families. Another idea was that we establish a Catholic TV channel / Catholic Website and have a more up-front presence on talk-back radio.

Yours in Christ, Fr Paul Marshall

Posted by Daniel Ang at 7:58 AM

Tags: Rydalmere   Dundas Valley   Blog

Comments & Responses

With the first round of consultations last year it was apparent that decisions on some issues had already been taken, i.e., grouping parishes. The bishops has also already stated his priorities for the diocese. It the laity are to be convinced of their co-responsibility in the mission of the church, decisions need to be made together. If not, we are looking at information evenings, not consultations.
Posted by: Gideon Goosen on 29/05/2012 11:30:35 AM(Reply)
Thanks Gideon for your comment! The information evenings in the parishes of Glenbrook, Springwood and Lawson in 2011 were indeed information evenings about changes specific to those parishes and preceded the pastoral planning project. No decisions about structure will be considered as part of the Pastoral Plan until after issues of mission have been taken up with all of our parishes, as our structures must match our mission. It is a conversation we have undertaken in good faith but acknowledge your concern, Fr Paul.
Posted by: Fr. Paul Marshall on 30/05/2012 9:06:07 PM(Reply)
I agree that the program is pitched too high for unchurched families. Many children in the state schools do not go to church. They do not know what is in the church and they have never spoken to a priest.
Posted by: W. Wilson. on 29/05/2012 4:52:20 PM(Reply)

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