On 24 May 2015, we celebrated the birth of our new Parish of St Charles Borromeo and Our Lady Queen of Peace Ryde-Gladesville. It is also the Feast of Our Lady Help of Christians, Patron of Australia. It begins a new chapter in the sacred story of St Charles Borromeo and Our Lady Queen of Peace communities, which cease to be separate and individual parishes. The futures of our communities are now intimately linked as in a marriage. We are supported by our parish priest Fr Richard Gates and Fr Daniel McCaughan our assistant priest.
BUILDING VITAL FAITH COMMUNITIES
As announced last week Fr Richard has asked that our Parish Pastoral Council take on the responsibility of coordinating “Parish 2020” in our Parish of Ryde-Gladesville. Below are the areas taken from the Archdiocesan survey where feedback will be sort from parishioners. Ways to complete the survey will be available soon.
The parish is the presence of the Church in a given neighbourhood –the place for hearing God’s Word, for worship and celebration of the sacrament, for charitable outreach, and for community building. Sydney's neighbourhoods are changing. Fresh demographic data can help us identify both the needs and the missionary opportunities in your local parish and the ways un which your parish might be strengthened by collaboration with other parishes.
God has made us “stewards” of His many gifts. Stewardship can be defined as making the most responsible use of these gifts and resources for the good of all. For the lay faithful, it involves the sharing of individual time, talent and treasure as well as the commitment of communal resources (human, material, finance etc) in service of the community.
Experience and research shows that parishes inly remain strong and vital when they are outward looking, welcoming and consciously seeking to invite others to share our faith in Christ. This is the mission of every parish. But each parish must identify the priorities relevant to mission in its particular neighbourhood.
The independence and unique style of individual Parishes and pastors provides diversity and flexibility for the Church’s mission across Sydney. However, changing neighbourhoods, aging communities, and run-down facilities make it difficult for some smaller parishes to maintain their vitality and missionary outreach. Collaboration between parishes can strengthen communities, minimise duplication in pastoral life and activity, and enable parishes to be more effective, despite their limited resources.
The New Evangelisation
In the recent past, catholic people tended not to invite others to share their faith. Parishes focussed on ministering to their regular participants. Today vital parishes are re-discovering the call to evangelise –to reach out to those who have not heard of Christ or those who have—but have given up practice of the faith. The call to positively witness to the good news of God’s saving love and the hope of eternal life in Christ is part of our Baptismal mission. Vital parishes are discovering that the more proactively they engage with this mission, the stronger they become as faith-filled communities.