In a first for the Diocese of Parramatta, Bishop Vincent has convoked its first Diocesan Synod on the Feast of Pentecost.
Joined by representatives from parishes and schools throughout the Diocese, Bishop Vincent drew on the imagery of Pentecost outlined in the Acts of the Apostles to explain the goals of the Diocesan Synod: the renewal of the Church in Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains.
“We are called to embody the Spirit who transcends all boundaries and divisions, be they of race, culture, social status, gender, ability or disability,” he said in his homily. “Just as the predominantly Jewish Christian movement was forced to examine its assumptions, beliefs and practices, today we too must seek fresh ways of transcending and healing divisions, and embodying God’s all-embracing love.
“We cannot have a better future if we are not responsive to the call of the Spirit to go out into the deep and step into a new future beyond the safety, familiarity and security that we have known.”
After the Mass, held at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta, Bishop Vincent presented each parish and school representative with a candle and prayer cards to take back to their community.
Synod an opportunity for school students’ voices
Jeanette Cocks from Caroline Chisholm Catholic College Glenmore Park attended on behalf of the school. “The synod is a great opportunity for the members of our diocese to have a say in what happens in the church in our diocese,” she said.
“Teaching in all girls education we are keen to hear how the youth can have a voice in our church. I think the youth want to get involved and this is a great opportunity to do that.”
Chinese chaplaincy offers friends and family to new migrants
Doris Au, the chairperson at the Chinese Chaplaincy in the Diocese at St Monica’s Parish, North Parramatta, outlined the possibilities for how the Church can welcome new migrants from places such as Hong Kong. She explained how the Church can “become like a family” to them.
“We have Sunday school for the children and liturgies for the teenagers and adults,” she said. “We also have talks about different topics for them to attend.
“They can make friends and our parish becomes like a family.”
Youth are not staying away
Vanessa Mathew from Our Lady of the Rosary in Kellyville, a youth leader in training, felt honoured to represent her parish.
Their youth group has conducted a spiritual conversation and has already uploaded a submission following the guidelines on the Synod website. “We did prayer and silent time then one round of discussion. Then we would have another pause before more discussion and reflection.”
“The youth actually do want to be part of the Church, they are not staying away. As a young community having all these ideas, we want to continue this into the future of our Church.”
Where to join the conversation and make a submission
Submissions for the Diocesan Synod are open until 31 July 2023, and can be submitted through the Synod website. Three deanery consultations, with guided discussion are open for all parishioners to attend. They follow two consultations which have already been successfully held, generating very favourable comments from participants.
Parishioners are invited to consultations which will be held 6.30pm to 9pm on the following evenings:
- 3 June at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta
- 17 June at St Andrew the Apostle Primary School, Marayong
- 24 June at Holy Spirit Primary School, St Clair
See parracatholic.org/synod2023 for details.
View images from the Diocesan Synod Convocation Mass here or below: