Reflections of the Synod of Bishops Document “The New Evangelisation for the Transmission of the Christian Faith”
A focus group of members of the Mudgee parish met and discussed their personal reflections on the document. There were representatives of all the groups of the Parish including the St Vincent de Paul Society, the Youth Ministry group and members of the Parish Pastoral Council.
Over twenty parishioners attended the meeting with several others sending in their written reflections. There were also a number of apologies.
The participants at the meeting expressed their wishes for the message of the local, Australian and Universal Church to be immediate and relevant to our lives through a church structure and mission that reflects the hope and love in the Gospels. The language of this document was perceived to be quite challenging and maybe out of touch with the “ordinary pew sitter.”
Furthermore, we believe that our small communities, led ably by our priests and nuns – the grass roots church – are the best ways of challenging ourselves to grow our faith and deepen our personal relationship with Jesus.
In collating our reflections we have divided the document into three main themes:
1. The hopeful and positive evidence in our society, global and local, that people accept and celebrate the gift of the gospel of Jesus Christ;
2. The elements in, and of, our society that are in need of challenge and hinder the proclamation of the gospel;
3. What we can do, in the universal and local church to enliven our people’s sense of mission.
Theme 1 Hopeful and positive evidence in our society, local and global, that people accept and celebrate the gift of the gospel of Jesus Christ:
• the strength and commitment of our local religious leaders in Mudgee – our priests and sisters whose leadership is active and always open to new ideas. Our priests and nuns always give freely of their time.
• lay people who give their time, expertise and leadership volunteering to work with care and compassion.
• the features of todays’ society – a longing to belong, a need for safety and stability and a need for families to find time to fit God into their busy lives – are those that are addressed by the Gospels and in our local masses.
• in Mudgee we believe that our Christian community is strong and this is evidenced by the leadership shown by our parish priest and the parish team in working with other Christian churches
• in our parish our sacramental programs are strongly delivered and well accepted
• the St Mary’s RCIA program is very active and connects members of the parish community with our candidates in a caring and loving manner
• we are proud of our efforts to connect young people to the church through the excellent work of our Youth Ministry and in young people’s involvement in the liturgy especially as Eucharistic Ministers
• nationally, the continued attempts to demonstrate reconciliation with Aboriginal people.
Theme 2 Elements in, and of, our society that are in need of challenge and hinder the proclamation of the gospel:
• the secular consumer driven nature of our society
• a hesitancy to preach and deliver the gospel – sometimes a sense of stigmatism of actually admitting that you are a practising Catholic
• people in our society who are unfamiliar with our Church and in some cases consider the Church irrelevant to their lives
• people believe that they are time-poor and lack the time for reflection
• attitudes to marriage
• the strength and attraction of radical religious belief.
Theme 3 What we can do, in the local and universal church to enliven our people’s sense of mission
• encourage members of our parish to join groups within the local Church e.g., the St Vincent de Paul society; the Josephite Associates group
• investigate the success of family groups in other parishes
• recognise that the Mudgee area is undergoing great population growth and the need for our parish to ensure that new people to the area are welcomed into our church family
• acknowledge publically people who marry in our church and have their children baptised so that they may continue to celebrate the mass with us each week
• continue to encourage our young people to attend BLAST and MannaFest
• find ways to reach out beyond the ‘converted’ so that people know us and what we do
• continue to arrange events where parish members can connect with each other liturgically and socially
• the New Translation can be difficult for all to connect with, however, by providing a local flavour and context and quiet time for reflection during mass this difficulty is being eased
• continue to encourage parents to bring their children to Mass
• examine the role of the Catholic school, locally, at a diocesan level and at a national level and see how it can better be a vehicle of connection to the parish
• use the full range of new technologies to connect with people locally and globally – in a local way develop web links between the parish and our school
• find ways to deepen connections with parents of children who attend public schools
• for the Church in Australia to find good examples of ways to rejuvenate those of us who are life-long Catholics – for instance, the experience of catholics who participate in the RCIA journey with our candidates is a powerful way to re-educate, deepen and enliven faith and to meet again the God of love and compassion
• for the universal church to challenge itself to respond to the impact of social changes by ensuring it is inclusive and understanding of its communities
• for the universal church to allow all people to have responsibility in the church
• for all members of the church to reflect on the gospels in ways that help to simplify its meaning to our lives today and tomorrow by concentrating on the narratives in the gospels and their immediate relevance to our lives.