Building Hope Gathering - Response
The consultation process undertaken by the Diocesan Task Force in 2021 highlighted the key issues valued by people in their faith communities which a framework for pastoral renewal in the parishes of the Diocese.
This framework provided a focus for the discussions at our recent Parish Building Hope gathering, where participants took time to reflect on the four key dimensions we were asked to examine – FAITH, SERVANT LEADERSHIP, SOCIAL JUSTICE and WELCOME. We were asked further to look at what is working well and what needs development under each heading
This document is a summary of the responses from the gathering which formed the basis of our submission to the Diocese under each of the headings.
In general, it was felt that the Eucharist, Liturgies and faith formation had functioned well in our parish. In part this reflects the fact that we have had greater numbers of clergy than neighbouring parishes.
Some concern was expressed that in future we may need to take responsibility for sacramental preparation from the schools and how that might be managed.
There were also a number of comments on the need to develop properly trained lay prayer teams to cater for a future possible shortage of ordained ministers.
Here again, the general consensus was that we had been well served by our clergy over many years. The Carmelites while working in the parish brought with them a sense of community which fed into the parish generating co-responsibility between clergy and lay faithful. The hope is that this can continue with our new clergy.
From a developmental perspective, the role of women was highlighted as was the need to reactivate many of the lay ministry functions that had ceased since the pandemic. There was also considerable recognition of the need to connect with young people.
In the past Knocklyon was always perceived as a very welcoming place. Our outreach teams did a great job in connecting with new people coming to the area. There was a view that we should look again at this type of communication. Other areas of welcome included reference to our social events – Parish Week and Christmas Fair. Suggestions were outlined referencing using the Iona Centre for tea/coffee after one of the Sunday masses to having people at the church doors on entry and exit.
Our positive here was the success of the local conference of the VDP. They are very well perceived by everyone in the parish. It was also noted that parishioners generally responded very well to other emergency appeals for help. However it was also noted that we did not sufficiently reach out to people living on the margins in the parish. There was significant support to develop a programme, and to involve younger people thus building contact with this cohort.
The Building Hope gathering was also asked to identify which four or five parishes would it make good sense for us to be in local partnership. The parishes identified were as follows:
The Response Form for the Diocese has been completed and returned to the Diocese. Each parish submission will be collated by the Diocesan Building Hope Pastoral Strategy Implementation Group and presented to Archbishop Farrell for his consideration. Further discussion will take place with parishes in the autumn.
The Parish Pastoral Council wish to thank all parishioners who participated in the Gathering. We greatly appreciate your time and your views. Details of additional communication from the Diocese will be published on the parish website in due curse.