Parish Renewal & Revitalisation

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001015_aafdIn May 2019 our Parish Pastoral Council invited members of the parish to come together over a Friday evenign and Saturday to reflect on how we can ALL play our part in developing 'leadership to revitalise our parish'.   It was a very fruitful time and a team is currently working to provide focus to our parish as to how we can more energetically take up our mission as disciples.

But it depends on all of us to take up our role so that we can can more energetically bring the Good news of Jesus to our world through our own active discipleship and our role in the ministry and mission of our parish.   Please be part of this important development in the life of our parish.

Below you will find feedback to the parish from the Parish Pastoral Council (which will be continually added to) in the wake of of the recent weekend.

PART ILeadership assembly
Our gathering of over 30 parishioners on Friday night and Saturday last weekend was overwhelmingly successful in achieving our aim of igniting a renewed passion for our purpose of revitalising our parish. The focus was on how we can build a culture of discipleship in which everyone in the community recognises their call to be an active part of the mission of the Church in proclaiming and building the Kingdom of God, of growing in awareness of having a co-responsibility for our mission.

To put this into practice there was a recognition that we need firstly to be clear as to what our aspirations are so that we can then devise practical ways to work towards these key aspirations in the renewal and revitalisation on our community and its mission. The Parish Pastoral Council, along with a number of participants from the reflection day, is working actively to help focus these thoughts and to put them before the parish.
In the meantime we hope that you will all yourselves reflect on how you might take up that call of co-responsibility for the mission of our parish community. If there are gifts and talents you would like to make available in this exciting path for our parish we would love to hear from you.

Why “revitalise”?
Whilst we are luckier than many parishes to have active leadership and a participating congregation, there are many of our flock who have disengaged from church life and/or their faith.
As stewards, co-responsible for the Church’s future, we need to consider in what ways we can seek to engage not only our current parishioners but also those on the margins of our faith community. Is there a sense of belonging in our parish? How about the future… do we have a plan to attract and keep future generations of Catholics to our parish?

Pope Francis’ first major announcement Evangelii Gaudium encourages the church’s pastoral efforts to abandon the complacent attitude which says that ‘we have always done things this way’ and rather be bold and creative in the task of rethinking the goals, structures, style and methods of outreach (Everyone Leads by Chris Lowney).

Part III
Last week we wrote about our co-responsibility as stewards for the future of our Church and our renewed desire to ‘revitalise’ our parish - but how will we go about this important task?  In his book - everyone leads - Chris Lowney put forward the EASTeR project - 5 transformational principles or pillars.  Chris suggests we need to be a Church that (p72-75):

E: is Entrepreneurial – nimbler, exploit modern technology, express our message creatively, share information, empower laity, vary prayer and worship styles, offer meaningful spiritual growth opportunities, make better use of our talent, be open to and seek new ways of doing things 

A: is Accountable – conscientious in monitoring, evaluating and assessing how well we are fulfilling the various mandates Jesus gave us, whether stewardship of money; our service to poor communities; or effectiveness of our parishes to facilitate spiritual growth of our members 

S:Serves all in need – counter cultural commitment by serving and seeking justice for all who are poor marginalised or excluded; this will be our core brand in every parish, hospital and ministry; we will fascinate an increasingly self-absorbed world by our commitment to selfless love

T: Transforms the spiritual lives of members – we need to be a Church where transformation happens - we will enable even greater peace, faith and inner joy

eRReaches out widely to the world around us – foster a culture of engagement; invite others to participate; personally welcome newcomers

IMG_2187aWant to know more about the EASTeR project?  - copies of Chris’ book can be ordered online (at Booktopia or Amazon) or bought in city bookstores (Mustard Seed Bookshop on Liverpool Street or Pauline e Books on Castlereagh Street).  Alternatively the Parish Pastoral Council would be happy to organise a one hour session to present the EASTeR project ideas - contact the parish office to register your interest. A suitable time could then be arranged for interested participants.  

We are the ones the Holy Spirit has put on the playing field at this moment in history - it’s up to all of us to play our part in securing the future of our church for the next generations.  

Part IV

‘Christ has no hands but yours’  - St Teresa of Avila

So far we have written about creating a renewed passion for our purpose of revitalising our parish through building a culture of discipleship - where everyone in our community recognises their call to be an active part of our mission and to be stewards co-responsible for the future of our Church. 
We also considered the 5 transformational pillars of the EASTeR project put forward in Chris Lowney’s book ‘everyone leads – How to Revitalise the Catholic Church’. That is, we need to: be Entrepreneurial; be Accountable; Serve those in need; Transform the spiritual lives of our members; and Reach out widely to the world around us. 
What’s next for our Leadership project?
The planning team have been busy considering our aspiration so that we can develop priorities to focus our efforts in working towards the renewal and revitalisation of our community and its mission.  In the coming weeks we will be publishing our aspiration and priorities as well as detailing initial projects, and seeking your
involvement with these projects. If you have ideas for possible projects about how we can reach out to those in our wider community we would also like to hear from you - please contact Margaret Frater (Parish Pastoral Council Co-Chair) via email or through the parish office.

The Parish Pastoral Council

Please keep returning to this page for further updates.