Spreading the Joy of the Gospel
Renewal in our parishes has three key ingredients: Good community, good preaching and teaching, good music. If you stop and think about it we are talking about our experience of love, truth and beauty.
This year the Archdiocese held a leadership program entitled The Joy of the Gospel. We began in June with a two day seminar for Canberra parishes and we have just finished seminars in the coastal parishes of Bega and Pambula and then Narooma, Moruya and Bateman’s Bay.
We then headed to the Western Deanery with the parishes of West Wyalong, Temora, Young, Cootamundra, Harden, Tumut, Jugiong, Gundagai and Adelong. There was no want of interested people.
The idea is simple: try and give some teaching, training and formation in the three key areas of parish renewal. We tried to be descriptive, not prescriptive. After all, no two parishes are the same, even if they happen to be geographically close. Each parish has its own demographic, but importantly its own history and culture.
We discovered that there is a strong desire among the faithful for parish renewal. Love of one’s parish is tangible. People want the best for others and they want to be part of a community that makes a difference.
The question is: how might we do this in 21st Century Australia? Jesus Christ is our treasure and his love and peace surpasses our deepest desires. The Eucharist is the source and summit of our celebration of Christ. But still the question persists: how can we help people to encounter the mystery of Jesus Christ in word and sacrament?
As we delivered the seminars two things began to emerge quite clearly. Youth ministry in the Archdiocese is key, for it is able to find a language that engages our young people. Secondly, good music, with its ability to attract human hearts in and through beauty, is essential.
There’s a lot to be said for perseverance. Together we can make a difference if we keep ourselves focused on the three elements of parish renewal in 2019 and beyond.