Greetings all and may God bless you, your families, parishes and communities!
The Diocese of Parramatta Diocesan Pastoral Council came together on Saturday the 31st of August in the wonderful environment of Our Lady of Queen of Peace Parish, Greystanes as one of four times we will formally meet this year.
We commenced with a prayer led by Leo Tucker, where we reflected on a reading from the Gospel of Mark (2:22), “and no one pours new wine into old wineskins as the wine will burst the skins…No, they pour new wine into new wineskins”, which set the tone for an open and enriching discussion around the Diocesan Forum and in particular Bishop Vincent’s address, and how it made us feel.
It was clear that many of us were encouraged by Bishop Vincent’s courage to challenge the status quo and bring to life a fresh perspective – yet deep within our hearts our vulnerabilities and uncertainties of what the future way of Church may look like, and the realisation there needs to be a safe space for what is being called for, was daunting.
We pondered on how to summarise and respond to the call of Bishop Vincent’s address, which plainly beckoned us out into the deep of ourselves and our communities.
Yet as a pastoral council, in communion with bodies of the diocese, we desire to listen and discern what the spirit of God is saying through the signs of the times.
How do we share, engage and enrich the diocese to enact this exciting call to share the timeless values of the gospel and the beauty in our Church in authentic, new and modern ways?
How do we foster communities of welcome, refuge and God’s love?
What needs to change and what needs to be strengthened so that all of our brothers and sisters can live in, rejoice and know God’s love?
At the start of this journey the Diocesan Pastoral Council invites you all to ask the same questions and start stitching together “the new wineskins” that will hold this “new wine”, revealed to all in our loving Eternal God.
May our Mother Mary be a comfort, inspiration and guide post for us all as we take this pilgrim journey together.