How are we planning to be a light for the world in 2016?

Our planning begins with God. Rather than asking, “How will I get through 2016?” why not ask, “God, how will we get through 2016 together?”

The pastoral planning wraparound cover on the February 2016 issue of our diocesan magazine, Catholic Outlook, features an explorer venturing through a cave, perhaps in the Blue Mountains.

A new year can seem a little like venturing into a dark cave, unsure of where we are heading, and if we will find a way through!

Caving, or spelunking, offers five great tips for beginners (see, and these can be applied to planning for ourselves individually, with our loved ones, and with our local community:

  • There’s strength in numbers

We are not alone. Our planning begins with God. Rather than asking, “How will I get through 2016?” why not ask, “God, how will we get through 2016 together?” Jesus possessed the wisdom to send out the disciples on mission by twos. If we are isolated in our goal, perhaps it is time to reach out for support. Journey through this year with a companion or small group of like-minded people.

  • Know your limits

A new year brings fresh enthusiasm, and the danger of taking on too much! How might we seek to prioritise what we want to achieve? Rather than trying to take on five big caves or challenges and getting lost, let’s chat with God about the one important thing we need to address in 2016, and put our efforts into bringing light to one dark place. 

  • Have the right gear

Don’t jump in unprepared! There is a wealth of resources to support us. In our personal lives, many government and non-government organisations can assist. In our church life, there are many good agencies, communities and groups willing to walk with us and share their wisdom (contact me if you are seeking a place to start).

  • Stay warm

Caves can be cold places, and so can planning. We stay warm when we remain centred in prayer, in our sacramental life, and through taking time out with a good meal, laughing in the company of friends, and caring for our health and wellbeing.

  • Don’t drown

Flash flooding is a danger in many caves. Outside forces sweep away the best laid plans. We cannot foresee every eventuality, and people and events can knock us off our feet. How do we stop from going under when our best efforts falter? It helps to remember that we are not Christ, not the one who saves, and to continue to place our trust in God’s goodness, particularly in this Year of Mercy.

Our Diocesan Pastoral Plan, Faith in Our Future, invites us to grow in faith and share our faith. We do this best when following the Light of the World, who guides us in all our wanderings, leading us to new life, inviting us to be a light to others through our walking in the light of Christ.


Richard McMahon is Director of Pastoral Planning & Implementation. Photo: Adrian Middeldorp

Photo: Adrian Middeldorp

Richard McMahon

Director of Pastoral Planning & Implementation

Tel: (02) 9831 4911

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