Feeding the faith through conversations

By Mary Brazell, 3 August 2021
Donnie Velasco, Pastoral Formation Officer, Diocese of Parramatta, speaks during The FaithFeed Conversations, as part of the Diocese of Parramatta's HOME Ground program. Image: Diocese of Parramatta


Life might be in lockdown across Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains, but that hasn’t stopped young adults from gathering online to share their faith experiences and seeing the possibilities presented to us in these times.

In closing out the first week of the Diocese of Parramatta’s HOME Ground program, a small group of those in their mid 20s to 40s were able to meet on Zoom and share openly and honestly on faith and life on The FaithFeed Conversations, with dozens more tuning in via Facebook.

The FaithFeed Conversations, according to Donnie Velasco, Pastoral Formation Officer, Diocese of Parramatta, draws on another Diocesan initiative, The FaithFeed, in exploring faith leadership through storytelling.

“In this way, the heart of the Gospel stories – the kerygma, which proclaims that God loves each of us personally through the person of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit – comes to live in the stories and witness of those in their mid-20s to 40s,” Donnie said.

“The FaithFeed hopes to communicate the experience of God’s presence through the stories of those in this age bracket, and The FaithFeed Conversations aims to take this leadership platform and extend it to an intergenerational reach.

“There is a wellspring of wisdom that can encourage growth in life and faith when it is shared across different generations.”

The participants were asked what they are doing to spend time outdoors during COVID. Some suggestions included taking local bushwalks, tending to their gardens, and walking around the neighbourhood whilst praying the rosary.

The group then watched a pre-recorded reflection from Karina, a young person in the Diocese, on ‘possibilities in my life now.’

“I thought it was something apt to acknowledge the current situation that we all find ourselves in, and not to shy away from the fact that people are doing it tough, that people find themselves in real periods of crisis, and by naming these possibilities, but somewhere, somehow, there still is that glimmer of hope that pierces through our current context,” Donnie explained.

Karina spoke about the possibilities in her life and looking beyond barriers that may exist in our lives.

“It’s important to have faith, that with God, things are possible, and there is a possibility beyond the things that we see, and beyond those barriers we put before ourselves,” she said.

Participant Thaïs told the group that she is grateful for the possibilities to build and strengthen community online, whether it be attending online discussions as a scripture teacher or having a virtual cup of tea with members of her parish.

Participant Anthony mentioned trying to look beyond the global possibilities and trying to focus more on what is possible in our local context, emphasising Pope Francis’ call to go to those on the margins.

Donnie hopes that The FaithFeed Conversations will showcase an exchange of ideas and relationship between different age groups.

“This is motivated by the Trinitarian principle that from the ‘other’, including the otherness that comes with being of a different age and holding different live experiences, we can experience the presence of the divine if we lean in and listen deeply to each other’s stories,” he said.

As we begin Week Two of HOME Ground, Tuesday night will feature the return of The FaithFeed Studio Audience Livestream from 7pm. Guest speaker Marilyn Bellett will share her story of honouring the questions of discernment for what adult faith means for her now.

The FaithFeed will be livestreamed on Facebook via www.facebook.com/thefaithfeedparramatta/live. To view the whole schedule of events, visit parracatholic.org/homeground.

View The FaithFeed Conversation session from Friday night below:


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