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Synod Reflections

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

Synod Reflections from Representatives

Bless our parish as we set out

 

FROM Catherine Gibbs

 

Go out.

You may not rest secure

 for need calls loudly.

You must seek God there,

Loving shall be your flame.

Nano Nagle

 

With these challenging words Cardinal John concluded the 2017 Synod and strode purposefully out of the cathedral at the end of an uplifting Eucharistic celebration.  A week has passed, giving time for reflecting on my privileged participation in the process.  I have a renewed focus on diocesan and parish needs as articulated by many present.

 

The following three themes stand out. First, improved lines of communication and the way we communicate is needed.  People are seeking clarity, simplicity and practical ways to encounter Jesus through others. Second, more opportunities for faith formation are necessary. People desire increased knowledge and understanding of core aspects of Catholicism including Scripture, Catholic social teaching, and Sacramentality.  Thirdly, a renewed commitment to serving those on the peripheries is vital.  There is a lot we can do to bring about healing and build positive relationships, in all spheres of our lives.

 

So what?  Now what?  I will follow up on those three themes at both parish and diocesan levels.  My role with the Catholic Institute (TCI) Wellington, now has more clarity in terms of communicating faith formation opportunities for everyone.  I feel a renewed commitment toward social justice through prayer and practical action.  This touches on two passions of mine - education and ecology.  ‘Need calls loudly’… so looking ahead, I hope some of you can join me soon on a couple of parish and school projects.

 

 

FROM James Aubrey

 

This Synod has been an opportunity for all parishioners to reflect on the current state of the Archdiocese of Wellington.

 

It has given us a chance to "take stock of", and deeply think about, what the Catholic Church means to all of us, and what we want to provide for current, and future, parishioners.  

 

The entire process allowed us all to have our say.  At the Synod weekend representatives helped to condense the thoughts of the Archdiocese into a list of recommendations and practical actions.

 

The discernment process meant that everyone could be heard without judging, and I was very impressed by the organising committee.  They were flexible in their approach and were prepared to change topics based on what the parishioners were telling them.  I felt like we were truly listened to.

 

There was a lot of hope and positive energy at the Synod and I hope to be able to pass some of this energy on into our parish of St Theresa's, Plimmerton.

 

We have been part of deciding the steps and actions that we, as community, will take.  I feel very positive that the Synod has served its purpose.  It has lit a spark in all of us to go where we, as the church, will serve better and honour the call “Go , you are sent’. 

 

FROM Felipe Ayora

The Synod was a new, meaningful, and rather intense experience for me.  

When going into it, I didn’t quite know what to expect, but very quickly I felt part of the process and inspired to contribute.  One of the first things I enjoyed was the diversity of opinions within each of my groups . The mix of ages, gender and backgrounds really provided a wide range of perspectives and ideas.  Thanks to the emphasis on listening, those perspectives and ideas could be freely shared and internalized.  

The recommendations that followed were creative and sensible, and I felt that they were sincerely based on compassion, understanding and love.  Yes, there were difficult moments, where some opinions or recommendations challenged my perspectives and priorities.  Because it was a group effort, it was good to be able to see the reaction and viewpoints of the other participants and, based on that, adjust mine if needed.  

Throughout the process, I felt a big sense of responsibility, especially towards my fellow parishioners, but also towards the larger Catholic community and the peripheries that were so important during this Synod.  I always tried to put first the opinions and recommendations that I had heard from others in the parish and during the preparation meetings, even if I did not fully agree with some of them.  I also tried to refrain from giving some of my very personal opinions, to ensure that I don’t taint the overall priorities and viewpoints of my parish and of those in the earlier meetings.  

Overall, I feel blessed by having been part of such an important event, and humbled that I was chosen to represent our parish.  I foresee a lot of good recommendations and actions coming our way, which will help grow, strengthen and revitalize our parish and our larger community!

 

FROM Jocelyn Bryant

 

As I have said before, I felt very honoured and privileged to be asked to be a representative of this Parish at the Synod. To add to my weekend, I was asked by the Cardinal to be a scribe for the weekend.  This meant for the five topics I was in, I had to concentrate on and record everyone’s thoughts and recommendations clearly.  It was hard work all weekend but I loved the challenge of keeping quiet (not always easy for me), listening and reflecting on other people’s ideas and stories.  It made me realise that we are one lucky Parish here at St. Theresa’s – we are lucky to have a collaborative Priest and have Parishioners who are willing to use and offer their talents.

I was most impressed and moved by the Liturgy led by the young people. This was very much about the peripheries of society and marginalised people – it was so powerful that it brought tears to my eyes.   The youth presence on this weekend certainly gave me hope for the future.   I was also in a group where a Priest said that if he won Lotto he would build a Church three stories high.  The first story would be for the traditional Mass goers, the second story would be for the Youth with their music and places to get together and the third story would be for our really young and babies so they were safe and were taught at their level.   What a challenge we face to keep everyone nourished in their spirituality in a way that is good for them.

The biggest thing I took from this weekend was communication on any and all levels.  I was reminded over this weekend that without asking and inviting people to tell you their story, or inviting them to be part of the Parish story, we may not seem very open and welcoming to youth, new leaders, ideas, change,  helping those on the peripheries etc..  I am so glad I was sent to the Synod and I am brimming with enthusiasm and ideas and look forward to the next steps forward we take from here, as a Parish and Archdiocese.

 

FROM Fr Maurice

 

For me, the recent Synod was an encouraging experience of what it means to be part of the wider Archdiocesan faith community : laity, clergy and religious from many different backgrounds and cultures - all gathered in response to Cardinal John’s invitation to help him discern the way forward in the years ahead.

 

It was challenging to be part of different groups and to listen to the thoughts and prayerful suggestions of so many others. The Synod’s theme, “Go you are sent,” has so many implications on so many levels, but fundamentally, we were reminded that, whatever our background, our task is to remember that we are disciples of Jesus, called to share the Good News, wherever we happen to find ourselves on life’s journey.

 

Listening to others in the groups, I felt challenged to remember that this can often mean moving out of one’s comfort zone.  Some of the recommendations which we will be sharing with you, our fellow parishioners, make this clear but the way ahead is with each other, never just alone.  

 

Another lasting impression of the Synod is the way in which everything we did was set in the context of wonderful liturgy and prayer – we are a faith community and not simply an organisation, business or club

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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