Communion and Hope at Guildford and East Granville
On Wednesday night (16 May) we joined the parishes of St Patrick’s, Guildford, and Holy Family Parish, East Granville, for conversation in the new BER facilities at Guildford. Participants were eager to engage with the pastoral realities of the Diocese and, in particular, to explore the notion of mission in terms of evangelisation and the proclamation of our faith. Encouragingly, participants spread themselves evenly across the 5 diocesan pastoral priorities, ensuring good feedback in all areas of concern.
In the area of family life, there was an urgent sense of the need for families to take responsibility for the transmission of faith, supported by the wider Catholic community but above all by the practices of family prayer and family social activities that fostered the connection between faith and life.
The need to consult young people in their hopes and struggles was another recommendation of the night, with the need to build connections between our parishes and schools raised as an ongoing opportunity through regular visitations by our priests as well as lay ministers.
In the area of vocations, there was a genuine concern for the welfare of our clergy and an affirmation of the support provided to them at a local level. However, more support was called for from a Diocesan level. Participants shared as well their hope that the diaconate would receive a stronger focus in the years ahead, for service in our growing parish communities.
Other tables recognised the challenge of welcoming alienated and estranged Catholics back to the Church and our need to learn from their experience. Another need in the area of evangelisation was to support men in faith, particularly those over the age of 35, who were often neglected in the Church’s pastoral care. Formation was surfaced once again as necessary for an effective evangelising mission and this included the need for Catholics to know their faith and to share it generously with others.
Thank you to the parishioners of both parishes who gathered together last night in faith to offer their suggestions and directions for our future years. It was a pleasure to meet new people and listen to the vivid sense of hope that parishioners hold for the future of our parishes and the Diocese as a whole.
Yours in Christ, Fr Paul Marshall