When involved in a parish some years ago, one irate parent contacted me to complain about having to jump through hoops with his son to receive First Holy Communion. His frustrations ended with this chilling statement: “I can’t wait till this is all over and we never have to go to Mass again!” While I was able to reason with him that the Church was not forcing his family to do anything, and that these steps were offered to those wanting to continue their initiation into the Church, his anger has stayed with me.
News - Sharing The Story
The Catholic Church of Australia plans to host a Plenary Council in 2020. This was announced by the Archbishop of Brisbane, Mark Coleridge. Archbishop Coleridge - who participated at the Vatican in the Synod on the family - is the key spokesperson for the event, which is an initiative of the Bishops’ Conference.
This would be the fifth major assembly for the Catholic Church of Australia and would take place more than eighty years since the last synod, which was celebrated in 1937.
“I’ve got this passion for helping people make sense of faith and life and link the two together….Often, the people in the pews are the ones who miss out….to reach everybody, you need to be in the parish.”
This statement by Sr Libbey Byrne captures a central tenet of her ministry as Parish Leader at Myall Coast Catholic Parish. The parish encompasses St Brigid’s, Bulahdelah; Our Lady of the Rosary, Karuah and St Stephen’s, Tea Gardens.
The small gaggle of parishioners shuffles into a cold hall. The overhead projector clicks on, and after the opening prayer, the first of a series of reports is delivered ranging from parish finances, to pastoral council and ministry news for the year. It is an excellent exercise in transparency and accountability, yet too often shunned by the faithful as a dreary gathering of those in the inner hub of parish life. If this is to be a vibrant gathering of the community, what are some ways parishes have sought to enhance the quality of the event, and offer a hope-filled new dawn for the coming year?