As part of our commitment to respond to the gifts and needs of our people, our Pastoral Planning Office is excited to launch a new resource which will arrive in your parish in the first weeks of November and will also be made available online at our website.
Earlier this year, parish priests and parish pastoral councils provided their feedback on the experiences, achievements and challenges in implementing our Diocesan Pastoral Plan, Faith in Our Future, in their respective communities. These comments have significantly shaped our new parish resource, entitled Welcome and Evangelise: A Parish Resource in Support of Faith in Our Future.
Inside this resource, you will find practical tools including websites, guidelines, recommended programs, reading and activities, contacts for partner organisations, retreat venues, prayer initiatives and events that will assist your parish, ministry groups and migrant community bring to life the actions outlined in our Diocesan Pastoral Plan.
We have committed ourselves to research and networking with other dioceses and organisations so that our parishes can move ahead with the latest and most effective resources available to the Australian Church, sharing and growing their faith with real vigour.
In other news, it is invigorating to see that our Diocesan Pastoral Plan has been widely recognised for the vision, sense of communion and missionary discipleship that it has generated among our agencies, parishes and people even in this first year of its life. We are seeking to break new ground in availing ourselves of new ways in which to live the original gift, the life and message of Christ, in all the cultures and contexts that form our Diocese.
Last week, State Member for Parramatta, Dr Geoff Lee MP, praised Archbishop-elect Anthony in the NSW Parliament, for his contribution to the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta and Western Sydney, and noted our Diocesan Pastoral Plan as a significant contribution not only to the local church but the wider community as well:
“Bishop Fisher developed the Faith in Our Future Pastoral Plan 2014-2018, a five-year community plan inspiring faith and service to the people of Western Sydney. After extensive consultation with the community, specific programs have been implemented to support families and young people as well as celebrate the diversity of Western Sydney. The bishop also hosted a forum with government, social and religious leaders to seek solutions for homelessness in Western Sydney. He has overseen the establishment of a new seminary at Harris Park to accommodate the increasing numbers of young men seeking to enter the priesthood. Again I take this opportunity to congratulate the Bishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Parramatta on his new appointment and wish him well as he takes on greater responsibilities for the welfare, education and spirituality of current and future generations” (The full text is available here)
Ultimately, the strong presence of our Church in Western Sydney is the fruit of your discipleship and commitment, in your parish community, workplace, family, and in society.
We hope all our readers and communities of faith stand proud of the Good News that together we represent, for a time in history that is searching for love in the face of fear, seeking hope in the face of diminishment, and yearning for genuine community in the face of isolation.
Faith in Our Future is assisting us to shine the light of the Gospel in the hearts and homes of Western Sydney and we pray that our new companion resource, Welcome and Evangelise, will assist you to continue to walk this new chapter of evangelisation, filled with confidence and marked by joy.
With blessings and every good wish,
Director, Pastoral Planning Office