Themes from Devonport Parish Synod Groups
This is a summary of input from approximately 50 people, across a number of “listening groups” including but not exclusive to the Parish Pastoral Council.
We need to think carefully about language – it can attract some and exclude others
Language used in Mass and other liturgies is an important part of our faith – current language helps to maintain reverence and can be comforting; however, how fit is it for today’s Church given it is sexist, hierarchical and monocultural? This creates a barrier to many, including youth, and reduces the ability of the church to be inclusive. In being more inclusive, we need to be careful to avoid tokenism. Use of te reo Maori is welcomed as a sign that we are a bi-cultural Church but it needs to be meaningful.
We don’t understand how to pass on our faith to the next generations
We are not passing on our faith, our future, to youth – we need to understand what is required to foster a spiritual future for our young people. Use their search for spirituality to build connections to a community of faith.
The needs of our spiritual journeys are met in many different ways
We all struggle one way or another on our journey and need to find ways outside of Mass and other formal liturgies to discern what the Holy Spirit is asking of us so that we can grow in our faith and contribute to the realm of God. We also recognize that Mass is the starting point, being fed by the Word and the Body of Christ.
We recognize that we have a role to play in making our community a better place
Pope Francis is leading us back towards healing and community. Through the gifts of the Holy Spirit we need to gain the courage to go out into our community and work together with others for a better world, recognising there are many spiritual paths to achieve that.
Knowing more about our faith would give us more confidence and enable us to share it with others
There is a lack of knowledge and understanding of the history of our faith – church history, sacraments - which limits our ability to pass it on to future generations. There should be a greater focus on faith formation, including topics such as Church history including local and national aspects, Vatican II and changes in Church teaching, the Catechism, and the Bible.
How will the Synod result in real change
We want to see tangible change from the Synod on Synodality – what can we learn from the outcomes of Vatican II and how long it took for any change to become reality.
We need to:
- Listen without judgement to: women, young, those not interested in the church, and those who find the church irrelevant to their lives and problems in today’s world. Understand that there is a difference between being people of faith and people who go to church.
- Be a welcoming church: where people are heard, can speak up in all honesty. Lay people should have equal say in the church. Reach out through improved PR, café culture and small groups. See truth in all faiths, reach out to disengaged Catholics, youth, start and maintain connections.
- Give up, get rid of an overly emphasized focus on outdated laws (e.g. contraception, sex outside marriage, remarriage of divorced Catholics ), historical abuse (needs real apology and redress), opposition to married priests and women priests, mismatch between church and faith, restrictions and judgmental systems, pointless rules and protocols.
- Find ways which unite us in our great diversity, ways of deepening our spirituality. Rather than seeing ourselves as traditionalists vs liberals we should look at ways of deepening our appreciation of tradition and ritual, traditions of prayer, and the Sacraments, especially Eucharist, while learning more about modern theology and its links with science and the environment.
- Be clear about what we are for, our purpose and mission, in order to bring people along with us.
We would like our Bishop to visit us more often.