Building the Kingdom of God Together, is the theme of our Diocesan Synod which commenced on Saturday when about 400 people gathered to pray, dialogue, listen, celebrate, and share food, drink and fellowship as well as Eucharist.
On Sunday, 10th November, St Joseph’s Parish Toronto came together to celebrate as one community, with their new Mass time of 9am on Sunday morning. The decision to move to one celebration came after two years of discussion, prayer and discernment, specifically asking the question, ‘Is it good for us to be together as one community?’
November is upon us and the month of the Holy Souls, in which we remember those who have died, and we pray for them, in order to move them more fully into the presence of God.
The end of October is upon us with the weather heating up and the drought still with us. The barrenness of some of our countryside was evident to me as I drove around much of our diocese in the past week, continuing my visit to parishes in order to speak with parish leaders and some of the members of their advisory councils, about the Plenary Council’s listening and discernment process, and our own Diocesan Synod, as well as other areas of pastoral life.
Once again I write this message on a Sunday evening and I am conscious that on this, the 20th Day of October, it is World Mission Day in this Extraordinary Mission Month, which was proclaimed by Pope Francis for the centenary of the promulgation of the Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud by Pope Benedict XV, on the activity of missionaries in the world.
Thanks to Helen Belcher for her message to you last week about the Plenary Council and our own Diocesan Synod. I trust by now that you are aware of both, and are keen to be involved. Some of our parishes are inviting people to engage in the Plenary Council Listening and Discernment process before Christmas, while others are going to wait until February. It is important that as many of you as possible respond to the process at a national, diocesan and parish level. We are attempting to ‘Listen to what the Spirit is saying’.
On the 8 August, the feast of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, Bishop Bill convoked a diocesan synod. We are preparing for the first session of the Plenary Council to be held in October 2020. Truly this is a remarkable time for both the Church in our Diocese but also the Australian Church and I dare say even for the universal Church. Whilst some are cynical, and probably not without good reason, there is also reason for hope.