Posted on 2 September 2016
Dr Susan Timoney keynote
Pope Francis is challenging parishes to go out into the community and to the margins, inviting people into the life of the church, no longer relying on the ‘conveyor belt’ of Catholicism.
This was the message of two keynote speakers, Dr Susan Timoney, Secretary for Pastoral Ministry in the Archdiocese of Washington, US, and Daniel Ang, Director of Evangelisation in the Catholic Diocese of Broken Bay, on day two of the PROCLAIM 2016 Conference taking place in Chatswood, Sydney.
In her keynote address, Dr Timoney said that parish life had a key role in the New Evangelisation and that the parish was the stable life of believers, but that those within our parishes had a mandate to be “co-disciples”.
She called on those attending PROCLAIM 2016 to make parishes more accessible to those who may want to encounter Christ by becoming “more inviting”.
“We are the eyes, the hands, the heart of Jesus in our homes, in our workplaces” so we must “go, invite, welcome”. Dr Timoney said those in the parishes are not “just the buildings” but “what goes in them”.
Dr Timoney’s work in the Archdiocese of Washington includes helping assess parishes by their “indicators of vitality”. The indicators include five key areas of parish life.
Worship: The vitality of the parish’s liturgical life with special emphasis on the importance of the Eucharist.
Education: The ability to provide faith formation for parishioners of all ages.
Community: The ability of a parish to evangelise, reach out to the community and welcome all people into the mission of the parish.
Service: The parish calls parishioners to help all who are need.
Administrators: The parish has sufficient leadership, management of resources and decision-making processes.
Daniel Ang keynote
In his address, Daniel Ang said that parishes should not be afraid to have a vision and that they could no longer rely on the “conveyor belt of Catholicism”. He said that evangelising parishes created disciples in the midst of the church that “opens individual lives to more possibilities for the life of faith, vocation and holiness”.
- Proclaim the name, teaching, promises, kingdom, life, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God;
- Cultivate and nourish a personal response to this Good News;
- Foster discipleship in the midst of the church as gift and challenge; and
- All of the above in service of a missionary orientation beyond ourselves.
Conference keynote addresses can be viewed online at www.xt3.com/proclaim2016
PROCLAIM 2016 is being organised and hosted on behalf of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference by the Catholic Diocese of Broken Bay. PROCLAIM 2016 will conclude on Saturday 3 September. For more information about the program and speakers, click here
*Adrian Middeldorp is Engagement Manager for the Diocese of Parramatta.