WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

Summary of Responses to the Synod

WelCom September 2017:

Go, you are sent…to the peripheries of society

There are a wide variety of people on the peripheries of society, ranging from rough sleepers to struggling families and others who are disadvantaged in some way. Respondents showed great concern coupled with some nervousness about how to respond.

Go, you are sent…to develop a spirituality of service

Respondents expressed a desire for other forms of worship in addition to the Mass, more inspiring music, greater ethnic diversity in liturgy, small scripture-study and faith-sharing groups, and the development of a spirituality which supports ‘going out’.

Go, you are sent…to find leaders

People expressed a desire for ‘servant leaders’ who can delegate and support, listen, challenge, respond to minority groups, and teach others to be leaders. Themes included job descriptions and set terms, planning succession, and giving lay encouragement and opportunity to initiate new outward-facing ministries.

Go, you are sent…to use your assets wisely

The relationship between buildings and building community is not just about the number of churches in a parish. People are looking for different types of buildings that will support new initiatives in their parish community and facilitate stronger community development. Some changes to churches are also needed now to help young families.

Go, you are sent…to deepen your bicultural relationship

Biculturalism starts with relationships and some Māori feel they are not known in their communities, parishes and schools. Among Pākehā respondents there is a desire for greater use of Māori in the liturgy, and the inclusion of Māori symbols, and art and craft in parish buildings. There is also uncertainty about ‘getting it right’ and a desire not to offend out of ignorance.

Go, you are sent…as members of the one Body of Christ

Respondents welcomed the life, energy, numbers of parishioners and diversity migrants are bringing to parishes. Too many ethnic chaplaincy Masses creates silos and works against inclusivity. The role of ethnic chaplaincies is a significant question, with both migrants and others seeing ethnic chaplaincies as responsible for integrating new migrants into parishes, as well as providing spiritual support.

Go, you are sent…to your own peripheries

Responses indicate people who feel or are perceived to be on the peripheries of the Church include those who have been hurt in some way or feel excluded because of their life situation These include the divorced, the divorced and remarried, gay and lesbian couples, and individuals. There seems to be very little support provided for these groups.

Go, you are sent…to care for creation

There were many ideas for practical action that could be taken by individuals, parishes and schools. There were very few comments about the relationship between poverty in the world and the exploitation of creation, which is a prominent theme in Laudato Si’.

Go, you are sent…to other Christians

Many parishes have joint worship with other denominations during Lent and Advent. Some respondents noted if there were forms of Catholic worship available other than the Mass it would be easier to involve other Christians. People are already involved in a lot of ecumenical-service activities and have ideas for more, but are unsure about how to take these further in parishes.

Go, you are sent…to accompany one another

Young people are missing from parish communities, a great concern for many respondents. Young people have problems with the liturgy, and a sense the parish community is the territory of older people. Older people indicated it is time to bring forward new young leaders.

Go, you are sent…to support marriage and families

Young families are present in the Catholic school community and missing from parishes. Parishes do not make it easy for them to come to Mass with young children. Parents want their children to marry rather than live together, but believe time often remedies the situation. The pressure on families was a theme throughout the responses. Many young families are struggling financially, and are also time-poor because of the long working hours needed to get an adequate income.

The full summaries of the input received on the Synod topics can be found in the Synod Member’s Booklet the Archdiocesan website www.wn.catholic.org.nz