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Parish renewal extends as connections grow

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Parishes from all over Sydney as well as other Australian dioceses were represented at the inaugural Parish Renewal Conference held at St Mary’s Cathedral College, Sydney, 19-20 August 2022. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

2022 was a busy but productive year as programs and engagement increase

The Parish Renewal Team have been working hard with our Parish Priests, parishes and parishioners across the Archdiocese to implement the Archdiocesan Mission Plan Go Make Disciples.

With the Grace of God, we were able to connect with the people of our Archdiocese in several ways:

  1. The highlight for our team this year was hosting the inaugural Parish Renewal Conference held at the St Mary’s Cathedral precinct on 19 –20 August 2022. Close to 300 participants attended the conference from across Sydney and Australia, representing more than 70 parishes. It was such a blessing to see our clergy, their teams along with brothers and sisters from across the Archdiocese, many of whom we had seen only online over the last 2 years.For the first time, we had the opportunity to sit in fellowship and listen to our pastoral leaders and well-known scholars, teaching us about the mission of the Church and showing us practical ways to live this out in the life of our parish.
  2. Throughout the year we have had the opportunity to accompany 13 parishes on spiritual renewal through delivering Parishes for Mission Days. It is a day in which we reflect with parishes on the mission of the Church and how this mission is shaped and expressed by our personal discipleship. We also explore ways in which we as parishes can reach out and evangelise others within our communities, unpacking the Archdiocesan Mission Plan Go Make Disciples as a resource and strategy for this mission.
  3. In our second year of supporting parishes to develop missionary leaders, we subsidised 16 participants undertaking the Foundations of Missionary Leadership course delivered by the Areté Centre. The course focuses on forming and equipping people with practical skills, spiritual formation and theological knowledge to grow as missionary leaders in their parishes.
  4. Our team has trained and supported 14 parish communities throughout Sydney in using Alpha, a key and popular tool for evangelisation. It is a way to provide a place for people to explore life, faith and God for the first time or grow in a deeper relationship with Jesus within a parish community.

    Parishes for Mission Days were held in 13 parishes throughout Sydney this year, to support them in spiritual renewal.
  5. We continued the series Reclaiming Evangelisation, where over 800 people in total attended four sessions of talks delivered by renowned theologians and Catholic speakers such as Bishop Robert Barron, Dr Mary Healy, Fr Jacques Philippe and Fr Mike Schmitz – all addressing the theme of how Jesus’ Great Commission will renew our parishes.
  6. Commencing in June, we began an adult faith formation series called Didaskō. This was delivered online to almost 100 participants over 6 months. Didaskō covered topics such as: An Introduction to the Catechism, Basics of the Spiritual Life, the Evangelising Mission of the Church and Receiving the Graces of the Eucharist. The courses were prepared and delivered by pastoral leaders in our Archdiocese and academic staff from the University of Notre Dame, Sydney.
  7. Lastly, our team created the Lenten and Advent companions for 2022, distributing approximately 22,000 copies across the Archdiocese and conducting nine training sessions on small group leadership to encourage and support our parishes in forming small groups to prayerfully come together, reflect and prepare during these important liturgical seasons.

Next year, we will continue the work of focusing on supporting our parishes and equipping them to be centres of evangelisation, while working with them in developing missionary leaders. We thank you for all your prayers and ask that you continue praying for us in the year ahead.

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