Pope Francis has challenged the whole Church to look again at our purpose and our structures. He has a very particular vision:
An evangelizing community gets involved by word and deed in people’s daily lives; it bridges distances, it is willing to abase itself if necessary, and it embraces human life, touching the suffering flesh of Christ in others…. An evangelizing community is also supportive, standing by people at every step of the way, no matter how difficult or lengthy this may prove to be… Finally an evangelizing community is filled with joy; it knows how to rejoice always. It celebrates every small victory, every step forward in the work of evangelization.Joy of the Gospel, 25
Across the diocese, we are working to build communities that are outward looking, strong and supportive. In this section of the website, you can find resources to do this. Whether it’s getting involved with your local Pastoral Area Reflection Day, booking a volunteering workshop, or planning a Micah Conversation for your parish, there are many ways that we can make a difference.
Check out the parish blog for the latest great ideas from our very own diocese.
Above all, keep on asking the question: “How does this build community?” If you commit to asking this about everything in your parish, for example
- How do our Christmas service times build community?
- How does our website build community?
- How does the signage in our car park and outside our church build community?
- How do our sacramental preparation courses build community?
- And so on…
You will start to see yourselves as others see you, and to be able to find the essential elements, big and small, that can make a parish open and welcoming to all.
For example, a baptism programme that set out to build community might:
- Network young parents with others in the community.
- Mention the name of the family to the Union of Catholic Mothers or similar for practical and pastoral help.
- Put on Catholic parenting prayer or Bible study groups to help young parents through some of the most stressful times of their lives.