Thank you for your recent participation in the Synod. The aim was to discern what the Holy Spirit is saying to the Church today. While our discernment is ongoing, these responses have now been forwarded to our Archdiocese.
Here follows a brief summary of the responses which were submitted via the box at the back of church, the online form, and the in-person meeting held in February. The main points included:
COMMUNION – ‘Our deeper union with God and with Others’
- Gratitude was expressed for our friendly parish, for the difference that the Mass and sacraments make, encouraging us to feel at home/at peace, and how our parish already deepens our Communion.
- Opportunities exist for further deepening that spiritual and physical communion at St Gregory’s, but there is the potential for so much more, particularly outside Mass.
- There is a need for deepening the faith, prayer and catechesis (discipleship) of every Catholic, as well as ongoing discernment of the Holy Spirit’s plans for Bearwood.
- Adoration was seen by many as a key to deepening our Communion with God and to appreciate the Mass more. Other suggestions included healing services, Bible studies and prayer groups as well as increased social activities in person and on social media.
- Openness to the Holy Spirit helps develop intimacy with God. The importance of prayer was cited as essential for Communion, especially for new Catholics, but is also a need for every Catholic.
PARTICIPATION – ‘The indispensable role we play in the Body of Christ’
- Acknowledgement was made of the gifts we already HAVE and USE at St Gregory’s’ such as music, serving, welcoming etc. The need to identity the gifts of parishioners (our greatest assets) was seen as a priority, but which needs to be more intentional! ‘Is the Church for me, or am I for the Church?’
- To increase participation and encourage others to join, it was suggested that we could set up social groups, youth groups, play groups, social action groups, liturgy & music groups.
- It was recognised that the people we currently overlook as a church are young people/children, the housebound, carers and families. All the gifts we need in this crisis, ALREADY exist in our Church!
- We need some direction as a parish – a Parish Council or leadership group could help us to do this.
MISSION – ‘Our invitation to others into Communion & Participation’
- The Works of Mercy can be used to reach out using, for example, the model that Citizens UK offers, by listening and taking action together. Cooperation with other churches can help us to achieve more.
- It is important that our parish does more to serve/evangelise. There are so many lonely and needy people, and we do need to reach the lapsed. ‘How do we “hand on the baton?” We need to multiply!’
- Can we establish groups that encourage us to know and share our faith better with others?
- Established local groups such as Sifa Fireside, Tabor House, Brushstrokes, foodbanks were mentioned as ones we could work more closely with as a church.
- There needs to be space for asking difficult questions, such as ‘where is God?’ Alpha was mentioned.
DREAMS – ‘Our Vision or Dreams for the future of our Church’
- An inclusive Church, where all people are welcomed. A church known for its compassion and joy.
- Living out the values of Christ, growing in unity and faith together. Regular Adoration is KEY!
- A FULL Church which is Spirit-led and Missionary. A Church with a Priest, Curate and Deacon!
- An active Church with all engaged in mission. Good connections with our Catholic School.
- ‘I see a future which includes women priests’.
There will be further opportunities to engage with this discernment, which the Pope has encouraged us to continue in our parish. We continue to seek the Holy Spirit and to ask: how can we deepen Communion in our parish, encourage greater Participation for everyone, and take our opportunities for Mission?