On the weekend of 27/28 Oct 2018. the parish was given an update on the progress of the Listening and Dialogue Sessions being held around our parish. Dick Danckert spoke at both Anglesea and Grovedale, and Maureen Ryan spoke at Torquay.
Many people see the catholic church as a dying institution in Australia.
That is not so in our parish of Nazareth.
We have had an excellent response to the input of the Plenary Council. Last year 46 ordinary parishioners came to a meeting to find out about it.
We then and there, began the process, of no longer being, the silent majority.
Many were sceptical of any chance for ordinary people to have their say in the agenda of the Plenary Council in 2020. It seemed a long way off. Yet open and critical analysis of our church occurred at that meeting.
Next we were given the opportunity to sign up in small groups to answer the question of “What is God asking of us in Australia at this time?”
We have had over a hundred people participate in the small group sessions. We were not asked to come up with solutions but to speak honestly and boldly outlining the issues facing us at this time.
Small groups of 4-6 people were convened, personal sharing occurred and responses were recorded anonymously, then posted on our website and on to the Plenary Council website.
Some of the Issues raised were:
*Reduction in the business and administrative workload expected of our priests, so as to leave more time for pastoral work.
*The need for on-going formation for adults –
*Updating the liturgy, and more involvement of children. If you are a grandparent you may related to one incident shared: “Grandma, Mummy and I went to church today, Mummy took up the biscuits, and I took up the trophy.” Many of us would be most happy they actually went to Mass.
Can we rid our church of some traditions that have had no beginning with Jesus for example: red hats. Francis has already done away with the red shoes.
We want to return to the Exploration of what the Bible means for us today.
*Can we have Open and transparent Governance of parishes with elected councils to reverse its current hierarchical nature instead to become a servant church, as described by Pope Francis.
Other Major issues also included:
The role of women in the church as deacons, and priests was raised.
Can the input of women, 50% of the population, continue to be ignored?
The celibate requirement of priests and the role of married priests was raised.
Our response to the child sex abuse scandal has been widely called into question. There is a strong feeling that our bishops have been tardy in responding to the royal commission’s report and less than transparent in response.
There was a loud call to make suitable and generous ongoing restitution, that is without litigation, to the victims of Sexual abuse.
This issue is not going away: nearly every group spoke about it. One group had 6 out of 7 present, related accounts of the devastating effects on their family and their movements away from the church.
Yet we, are all, still here. The recognition of the valuable experience of having a spiritual home and sharing the body and blood of Jesus in our community has been most positive.
The challenge is to be inclusive of those disaffected or marginalised and who want to be strengthened by the Eucharist.
Its a monumental task, in a secular world, to find what is required by young people and young families, so that they want to be involved in the expansion of their spiritual life.
For the 100plus people who have participated in the small groups, we thank you for your honesty and wisdom shared. We have seen the Holy Spirit at work, with the most interesting and stimulating discussions happening in our own homes!
The small groups have been an extension of relationships,
An introduction to many people, whom we did not know previously,
Also respectful sharing and listening
and most importantly, there has been a sense of hope for our church.
Please read the October Report (article below this one) for further feedback, as it was attached to the weekend bulletin.
We will continue to hear about the ongoing next phase. And some groups have decided to meet again.
The same process is to be rolled out to our schools soon. If you are not comfortable in a group setting, Personal Submissions can be made up till Ash Wednesday next year.
We have been challenged to continue to be active and informed about the energy the Holy Spirit is stirring in our midst: in “the ordinary people of Jesus.” Parish Conversation
page 2020 Plenary Council