A message from Fr John

Posted on: 23/01/2021

Dear Friends

Good morning

Today’s Gospel tells the story of the call of the first disciples from St Mark’s Gospel

Bishop John’s reflection on the passage goes as follows:

'Discipleship has two dimensions. As disciples, we are learning to follow the Lord and to understand what he taught us by his word and example. We grow in our knowledge and understanding of him. But just as important is that sense of discipleship that sends us out to show to others, by our own word and example, what we believe and so we bring Jesus to our world. These two dimensions work and grow together.'

St Joseph, model of patience and perseverance, pray for us

Every blessing

Fr John

The following are the minutes from our meeting on Thursday evening - thanks to all who participated. If you have any further comments, we would be very glad to receive them.

 

Parish Forum Meeting – 7pm Thursday 21st January 2021


Meeting began with a prayer – about 23 participants on 19 screens


Focus - Looking to the future of the Parish/Diocese

There were already changing patterns in the Diocese before the pandemic and these will continue.

Originally there were 7 parishes and churches with 14 priests in the Worsley/Swinton area. Now there are 2 parishes, 5 churches with just 2 priests and facing the prospect of reducing to 1 priest in the next few years.

During these times, what are we learning about ourselves as a church, a parish and about our lives of prayer?

There is a lot going on already which now needs to be drawn into a coherent vision.

Comments

Churches are not as permanent or accessible as we thought. CHURCH IS NOT JUST A BUILDING.

We seem to be more caring eg looking out for the housebound. Maybe always have a weekly Zoom Mass for the housebound.

Use of technology has been a benefit to the parish. Good way of communicating with parishioners.

Zoom Masses are a way of sharing faith together and providing a human connection.

Technology helps us to keep in touch with the vulnerable and include younger families.

Could Eucharist Ministers share a Parish Mass with the housebound when they take Communion to the house bound

Could Parish Mass be streamed so that parishioners can take part at a time that suits them, as the Redemptorist Mass does now. People working shifts might welcome this

Would a specific Youth Mass would be useful? Our Schools could be a means of outreach to younger families

Zoom meetings for Cubs, Scouts and Beavers have had a mixed response. Maybe children have had enough of taking part online with so much school work being presented this way.

We have learned again that we don't need a church building in order to pray. Nor do we need to have Mass to pray, although the Mass and receiving Communion is fundamentally important

Not being able to go to Mass has taken us out of our comfort zone but has made us value the Mass more.

Sunday obligation was discussed.

Possibility of an online retreat for Lent led by Sister Joan

Personal reflection time will be less when we are ‘back to normal’ and attending Mass will be more important – is this a danger?

The SVP and Bereavement Group have grown in the ways they reach out to the isolated. Training and working together has been useful. The support for the Food Bank has been great and working with Churches Together has been very useful.

We've learned to be flexible and that needs to continue eg options of going to Mass and supporting others in prayer

Above all we have learned to be resilient

What do we need to hold on to?

Being part of the community of Church and the importance of people

A way of getting to know people. It provides stability of place and stability of community

Gatherings after Mass bring people together socially

The tradition of 12.30pm Saturday Mass at OLLM which has trebled the numbers

Lots of traditions have already gone. Now we need to look forward to making new traditions.

Traditions need to be of the time. We need to maintain a sense of belonging and cater for everyone including young people. We need to empower people to do other things than just coming to Mass.

Basic Sacramental traditions are important. All Sacraments should be part of the Sacramental Programme. All the Parish including young people need to be involved.

Rather than starting from scratch, we need to look at what is successful in other areas and around the world. Has there been guidance from the Diocese or the Bishop’s Conference?

Other points

We have have made some good progress during this pandemic

Although we have reached out to most of the Parishioners with email and Zoom, it is sad that some are still isolated because they have no access to technology

If there is going to be just one Priest, will there be Deacons to assist? What will their role be?

We could have Eucharistic Services. One priest couldn’t celebrate Mass in each of the churches as often as we have been used to

John Griffin, a Diocesan coordinator, has been invited to join us at the next Parish Forum Meeting in 4 weeks’ time

The meeting ended with a prayer at 8.05pm

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