Sydney Centre for Evangelisation takes the faith online

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It's all at your fingertips: there are plenty of possibilities for those looking to deepen their spiritual life in a time of enforced isolation. Photo: Sydney Centre for Evangelisation
It’s all at your fingertips: there are plenty of possibilities for those looking to deepen their spiritual life in a time of enforced isolation. Photo: Sydney Centre for Evangelisation

Don’t let lockdown get you down. Why not take advantage of these online spiritual initiatives?

There’s a range of initiatives taking place across the Archdiocese of Sydney aimed at helping Catholics rediscover their discipleship – the serious commitment to living faith out in daily life.

All are being conducted under the auspices of the new Archdiocesan Mission Plan Go Make Disciples, launched by Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP last December, and are coordinated and supported by the archdiocese’s Sydney Centre for Evangelisation.

“It has been a very challenging time for all Sydneysiders as we endure another lockdown, until at least 9 July, to help contain the spread of COVID-19,” said SCE Director Daniel Ang.

“Our teams across the Sydney Centre for Evangelisation are firmly committed to our continuing support of the life and mission of your parishes, migrant chaplaincies and other Eucharistic communities at this time and in a number of ways.”

“The lockdown is particularly challenging for our parishes as churches have had to shut their doors to public Masses, parish events and groups have been postponed or cancelled, and so many are forced to endure separation and dislocation from loved ones and the communities they treasure.

“Nevertheless, by the gift of hope that faith brings and by the means of digital technology, there remain opportunities for common prayer, community and formation for the people of our parishes in Sydney in this time of enforced ‘retreat’.

“Our teams across the Sydney Centre for Evangelisation are firmly committed to our continuing support of the life and mission of your parishes, migrant chaplaincies and other Eucharistic communities at this time and in a number of ways.

We hope these online initiatives will be of interest to you, the people in your community and even those beyond seeking hope and succour in this time of pandemic. Please be assured of our prayers, for you and your communities at this time.”

The online retreats are open to everyone. Registration is simple. See details below. Photo: Patrick J. Lee
The online retreats are open to everyone. Registration is simple. See details below. Photo: Patrick J. Lee

Online retreats

Over two Saturday mornings on 3 and 10 July, online morning reflections or mini-retreats are being offered, proving there’s a silver lining to every grey cloud: lockdowns and the harsh restrictions necessary to stop the spread of That Virus are actually opening opportunities to get back into a deeper connection with God.

Anyone can participate in the reflection mornings and the experience can be powerful.

Entitled ‘Know that I am with you always (Mt 28:20): Nurturing Discipleship in Challenging Times’, the two-hour mini-retreats focus on helping us grow in our daily lives as disciples of Jesus Christ and finding ways we can do that.

 

“I saw it as an opportunity to invest in some ‘time-out’ and went with a very open mind, but was totally blown away by how much I gained from a spiritual perspective.”

Only a fortnight ago, the Sisters conducted the first in a series of one-day retreats focusing also on the theme of Discipleship.

Interestingly, it saw some of the participants return to the Sacrament of Reconciliation after an absence of many years, Sister Cecilia Joseph OP told The Catholic Weekly afterwards.
In that sense, it was life changing for some, she said.

Emma Gilchrist, parish administration assistant at St Canice’s Parish in Elizabeth Bay, said the Cathedral day she attended far exceeded her expectations.

“I saw it as an opportunity to invest in some ‘time-out’ and went with a very open mind, but was totally blown away by how much I gained from a spiritual perspective,” she said. “I didn’t realise how much I wanted and needed something like this.”

For those interested in experiencing the reflection mornings, registration is easy. The details are:

Saturday 10 July
10.00am-12.00pm
Venue: Online via Zoom

For more information contact Helen Wagner at [email protected] or on 0418 204 169.

The four-week series will be held on Tuesday evenings commencing 3 August from 7pm – 8pm.
The four-week series will be held on Tuesday evenings commencing 3 August from 7pm – 8pm.

Lay leadership series

In August, Go Make Disciples will offer a new online lay leadership program entitled ‘Christ-centred Leadership.’

The four-week series will be held on Tuesday evenings commencing 3 August from 7pm – 8pm. The sessions will be led by Fr David Braithwaite SJ, the Asia Coordinator of Pope Francis’s Worldwide Prayer Network.

Episcopal Vicar for Evangelisation Bishop Richard Umbers will attend the first evening to introduce Fr Braithwaite and pray with those who participate.

The online ‘Christ-centred Leadership’ sessions will be led by Fr David Braithwaite SJ, commencing on 3 August.
The online ‘Christ-centred Leadership’ sessions will be led by Fr David Braithwaite SJ, commencing on 3 August.

The series is for all laity serving in parishes and those interested in serving in parish life and their parish communities in some way and aims to help Catholics rediscover the importance of their baptismal vocation as a basis for leadership. It will focus on missionary discipleship and helping participants to grow as people who lead others to Christ.

It supports the “leadership” foundation within the Go Make Disciples mission plan, providing formation and raising up lay leaders to support parish priests within the Church, helping laity to become disciples who respond to Jesus’ Great Commission to “go therefore and make disciples” (Matt 28:19).

Each session will be made up of a theological and practical component and will also allow for time for sharing and questions. Sessions will be held on:

3 August: The Wounded Servant: The Foundations of Christian leadership
10 August: Leadership for Mission: Responding to Christ’s Sacred Heart
17 August: The Recollected Leader: The Spiritual Practice of Making Better Decisions
24 August: Love that Risks: Creating Communities of Growth and Innovation

Registrations are essential and can be made at the Go Make Disciples events page.

We may be living in a time of lockdown but there are online activities everywhere offered to held deepen faith.
We may be living in a time of lockdown but there are online activities everywhere offered to held deepen faith.

Youth

Upper Zoom with Fr Chris De Sousa
Topic – A rule of life with Fr Chris De Sousa

Youth Leaders from parishes and faith communities of the Archdiocese of the Sydney have time to hear a talk about ‘what are the markings for holiness’ and ‘how they can implement them in their day to day life’.

Date: Thursday, 8 July 2021
Time: 7:00 – 8:30 PM
Zoom Link

Online Daily Mass
Livestreamed from the Sydney Catholic Youth Facebook Page
Monday: 5:30 PM
Tuesday: 6:30 PM
Wednesday: 5:30 PM
Thursday: 6:30 PM
Friday: 5:30 PM
Sunday: 9:00 AM

Life, Marriage and Family Team Leader Steven Buhagiar presents a series of conversations with experts in practical parenting.
Life, Marriage and Family Team Leader Steven Buhagiar presents a series of conversations with experts in practical parenting.

Life, Marriage & Family

A Parish focused Introduction to the RCIA
Archdiocesan RCIA Coordinator Simon Yeak provides an introductory session for parishes wanting to establish a new RCIA team.
When: Monday 5 July 7.30pm
Where: Life, Marriage and Family Facebook page

Parent-focused Sessions on the RCIA
Simon Yeak provides three parent focused sessions on ‘Reconciliation’, Holy Communion’, and ‘Confirmation’.
When: Monday 12, 19 and 26 July 7.30pm
Where: Life, Marriage and Family Facebook page

Parenting Conversations: You don’t have to do this alone!
Life, Marriage and Family Team Leader Steven Buhagiar presents a series of conversations with experts in practical parenting.
When: Tuesdays from 6 July 8.00pm
Where: Life, Marriage and Family Facebook page

‘A Mind at Peace’ Book Study and Discussion
An information session for those looking to participate in a six week Zoom-based book study facilitated by Chris Da Silva of the Life, Marriage and Family Team. The book study includes formation, discussion and sharing on ‘A Mind at Peace: Reclaiming an Ordered Soul in the Age of Distraction’ by Dr Christopher O. Blum of the Augustine Institute, Colorado.
When: Wednesday 7 July 7.30pm
Register here

The team at the Sydney Centre for Evangelisation is leading a 45 minute Zoom workshop which will explore how social media can enhance your parish efforts in evangelisation.
The team at the Sydney Centre for Evangelisation is leading a 45 minute Zoom workshop which will explore how social media can enhance your parish efforts in evangelisation.

Communications and news media

Communications workshop for parish staff: social media as a tool for evangelisation

In today’s digital age, social media offers a powerful means of sharing our faith and modelling Christian life. But how can our parishes use these tools in a strategic way to preach the Gospel in new, creative and fruitful ways?

The team at the Sydney Centre for Evangelisation is leading a 45 minute Zoom workshop which will explore how social media can enhance your parish efforts in evangelisation, as well as the logistics of setting up pages, posting engaging content and maintaining, and measuring their effectiveness.

Date: Thursday, 8 July 2021
Time: 2 – 3PM
Register here