Our parishes will remain at the heart of the gathering of God’s people locally, but we need to adapt the way we resource our local communities, including the placement of clergy, catechists and other lay leaders, to form Missions that comprise a family of faith communities.
My letter to you today is simply an introduction to this task. This is the beginning of a way of thinking and acting that will involve us all – bishops, clergy and laity. It will be a journey of listening and learning, and walking together. Bring it to prayer; begin to talk with one another; open your hearts to where the Lord is calling us; reach out to your neighbours in faith.
More information will be made available soon, so the steps of discernment and consultation are readily available for everyone. I would like to note though that this is a period of growing and learning, not of haste. It is not about change overnight, it is not about parish closures or amalgamations, but a reframing of our thinking, and a resourcing of where our current need is, not where it was, in order to bring renewed life.
As the disciples gathered on that first Pentecost, might we now start this journey in prayer – together. Let us open ourselves to Christ Jesus with a new depth of trust and conviction in his guiding hand, so that we may discern our journey with compassionate and humble hearts and come to know the Spirit moving within and amongst us, and so be transformed.