For all of us, 2020 was a year like no other. In this ‘quiet time’ at the beginning of 2021, Tanya Quinn from the Diocese of Parramatta’s Pastoral Planning Office, reflects on 2020 and what she was able to draw from the Plenary Council’s ‘Prayerful and Eucharistic’ Thematic Discernment Paper.
If I could think of a time in my life that I was most inspired it would be now.
In 2020, the staff of the Diocese of Parramatta moved to the Bethany Centre – our Diocese’s new ‘home’ where we could continue to collaborate with each other in our mission of bringing hope and joy to our Church.
As our Church and our lives were turned upside down by COVID-19, we kept strong together and worked hard to stay connected to each other and care for each other.
In the Bethany Centre, we truly believe in each other and trust in our God who guides us and inspires us to be who we are day by day. This was even though we have had to stay apart from one another for so many days.
The social isolation brought us into a world of using the technology we have always had in front of us but never imagined how essential it was to become. Before 2020, we never thought we would be challenged in such a way that we would really need to seek new ways of creating ideas and keeping in touch with people.
My days were filled with thinking and more thinking about God and how He is guiding me to connect with people and stay connected with people.
As our lives became day-to-day working, waiting and hoping that our world does go back to normal sooner rather than later, many of us forgot the devastation that fires and floods had wreaked earlier in the year.
For many, it was and still is, a struggle and for some others, so much goodness has happened.
I am blessed to say so much goodness came into my life earlier this year. I kept my faith in God and kept praying. My adult children studied from home – and although it was challenging, they persevered and succeeded. Their perseverance has made them strong and confident.
While there are good stories out there, sadly there have also been many stories as well that challenged us and made us reassess and think about our lives, our families and those close to us. Many people were not able to cope.
I asked myself: “How do we help those that are suffering and find it hard? How do we as disciples of Jesus guide people to realise that God’s love remains with us in suffering and death and that keeping our faith and sharing our faith with our families, friends and communities will bring us to a place and draw us closer to Jesus each day?”
The answer I found was: “This happens through prayer and faith”.
“At prayer and at Eucharist, we encounter Jesus Christ in our hearts. The heart is the place of truth, of encounter, of decision, and thus a place of listening and discernment. Seeking help from the Holy Spirit, prayer can lead us to gratitude for God’s gifts, to ask for grace, and to dispose ourselves to meet Jesus each, and thus be drawn into the life of the Trinity.” (Read Easy Discernment Paper #3 – Prayerful and Eucharistic)
“Lord, teach us to pray” (Lk11:1)
You can read the full Discernment Paper “How is God calling us to be a Christ-centred Church in Australia that is Prayerful and Eucharistic” here, or by going to the Thematic Discernment Papers on the Plenary Council website.
Tanya Quinn is Executive and Project Administration Assistant from the Diocese of Parramatta’s Pastoral Planning Office.