Communicating and Living our Faith with Merrylands and Granville
On Tuesday 11 September, 2012, we joined the parishes of St Mary Margaret, Merrylands, and Holy Trinity, Granville, for a Faith in our Future consultation. The Pauline Fathers at Merrylands were represented by Fr Damian Mosakowski OSPPE who, together with parishioners and youth team, made everyone most welcome to the gathering.
Those who responded to the priority of family life affirmed the devotion of many Catholics and their present-day outreach to families in faith. It was good to hear of this commitment alive in our parishes. It was felt that more could be done, however, to promote the Catholic faith as attractive and compelling, through our own witness to the difference that faith makes in our lives as well as through formation which allows people to approach the liturgy and other experiences of faith with attentiveness and responsiveness. Building social connections following Mass was seen as a natural and fitting consequence of the communion shared within the liturgy and there an increasing challenge was named for families – to keep the Lord’s Day holy through quality time together and rest from the demands of the working week.
In concert with previous consultation feedback, it was suggested that young people could be better engaged with social justice issues which allow them to integrate faith and life.
Like adults, it was felt that young people need formation in faith and the task ahead was to build on many of the good things already happening throughout the Diocese in this area. The issue of mental illness and social alienation among youth was also raised as an area of need where the Church needs to be present while it was suggested that all needed to be challenged to deeper discipleship, in the family, in the school and parish.
The groups that explored ethnic diversity named the need to invite migrant groups to share their input with parish communities. Certainly we hope our ongoing consultation with the ethnic groups of the Diocese will help facilitate and support this kind of communication. The need for our migrant groups to be well represented in the visible ministries of the Church was also identified as an important aspect of not only being a Church of diversity but giving witness to that gift in our ministerial and liturgical life.
It was felt there was good support for the clergy in the Diocese, including from the parish communities where they ministered and that there was good local support for seniors through friendship groups and other pastoral care initiatives. This was encouraging news as care for the elderly has been a growing theme of the consultation process. In the support of laity, it was recommended that new welcomers be introduced to parishes periodically, not only to invite others into ministry but to meet newcomers with a diversity of existing parishioners, of different age, background and faith experience.
In the area of evangelisation there was an emphasis on the need to communicate the tradition and teachings of the Church with clarity and to also foster participation in groups which have proved meaningful and genuinely transformative for our people. It was recommended that formation be encouraging at a parish level, including in the Catechism as a resource for faith and the Scriptures as a living source of our discipleship.
Thank you to the parishioners of both Merrylands and Granville for their thoughtful responses and strength of faith. We learned much about local initiatives and concerns that are relevant for all parishes and communities that are seeking to grow and reach out to those in their midst. Our appreciation once again to the hospitality and youth teams at St Margaret Mary’s Parish, as well as to the school, for making this animated conversation possible.
Yours in Christ,