“Pope Francis's emphasis on synodality makes our present moment an exciting time to be part of the church,” he said ahead of his trip from Boston, America to Newcastle.
“As did the Plenary Council, the focus on synodality invites us to renew our trust in the Holy Spirit and consider together how we might respond with imagination and creativity to the challenges we face.”
While he is here, Fr Richard will offer several workshops and presentations. These include a workshop on 15 August in Maitland, a cathedral lecture about the future of the church on 16 August, and a Diocesan workshop on 18 August in Forster.
Fr Richard says he is eager to visit and share his knowledge.
“Visits such as the one in August not only are a chance to reconnect to my roots, but also to hear what's happening in the diocese and how this links with developments in the wider church,” he says.
“The latter is especially important in the current synodal moment when Pope Francis is calling us all to be attentive to what the Spirit is asking of the church.
“The Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle has a long history of synodality and has been a model for other local churches around Australia. As someone who works specifically on the theology of the church, it is very valuable for me to be in touch with local churches and their engagement with synodality.”
Fr Richard hopes people who attend his events use them as an opportunity to reflect together on their experience and perceptions of the church and its mission.
“Listening to each other and considering ideas that we might not have previously encountered can provide a basis for a renewed enthusiasm for being part of the community of the church,” he said.
“The lecture at the cathedral on Wednesday 14 August gives me a chance to share with those in attendance some ideas on how we might consider the church's future.
“I hope those who attend will find these ideas stimulating.”
For more information about the workshops, or to register visit www.mn.catholic.org.au/church-mission/catholic-life/faith-formation/upcoming-events/
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