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

The hui is over – now what?

Social Justice hui

Mary-Ann Greaney
5 April 2011

The big danger of any gathering is that it will be a great experience for those who come and, when it is over, will quickly fade into oblivion.

The ‘Working for the common good: Being salt and light’ hui is different because it was initiated by the priests and people of the archdiocese. The hui was a continuation of a process that started many years ago and was given a big injection at the 2006 synod.

altThe theme for that synod was ‘Salt and Light Together’ and built on the earlier synods of 1988 and 1998. The people who attended the 2006 synod represented parishes and groups within the archdiocese and all priests and lay pastoral leaders. Their task was to reflect on, discuss and distil a large amount of material gathered from parishioners of every parish.

At the end of the synod the parish representatives at the hui who explored what it meant to work for justice and peace recommended to the assembly to hold another gathering like the synod that could focus solely on social justice.

The recommendation was enthusiastically accepted and remote planning started. The idea for the hui came from the grass/flax roots where people worked together with the priests.

The primary statement from the justice group at the 2006 synod was that ‘the Wellington Archdiocese is a place where everyone knows and understands that social justice is at the heart of the gospel’. The hui was primarily about formation so attendees were given the opportunity to attend three of 28 workshops offered. Workshops were limited to just one hour giving participants just a ‘taste’ and leaving many hungry for more.

The aftermath
altSince the hui, existing social justice groups have said how invigorating the experience was. Groups are expanding with new members and opening up to the whole pastoral area and beyond. New groups are being initiated.

The good news is that all workshop presenters are local parishioners. Most presenters are happy to run their workshop again in your area and allow for more time to explore the topic in greater depth. Some parishes have already organised workshops and extended the invitation to parishioners who were unable to attend the hui.

The workshops on offer include topics like crime and punishment, restorative justice, homelessness, international issues, an alternative monetary system, treaty issues and social analysis.

There is a growing interest in the environment and the ‘Awakening the Dreamer’ symposium is a wonderful launching pad to explore our relationship with the earth and all who inhabit it.

In addition there are more in-depth courses offered from the Catholic Institute of Aoteoroa New Zealand (CIANZ) that include Catholic social teaching, scripture, and ethics.

If you would like information on justice contact people in your area or if you want to initiate a group or host an ‘Awakening the Dreamer’ symposium, contact Mary-Ann Greaney m.greaney@wn.catholic.org.nz or (04) 496 1784.

Images: Top: Some of the participants during the final Mass on Saturday March 5.

Bottom: Lakan Beech at work editing and creating snippets to upload to the web. 12-year-old Lakan is passionate about social justice, having at seven, been part of a picket outside the American embassy against bombing in Iraq.

Links: Working for the common good