In his pastoral letter on Take the Way of the Gospel, released at Pentecost in 2021, Archbishop Peter A Comensoli wrote that his words marked ‘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.’

It is in this spirit that the Take the Way of the Gospel journey continues in 2023 with a series of regional consultation sessions. These will provide an opportunity for clergy and laity in parish communities to come together, learn from each other and inform the process that will help reorient our communities of grace towards missionary renewal.

Over the course of this year, parish clergy and parish representatives will gather three times to explore how we might be called to resource and lead missionary renewal in our local context. The gatherings will focus on three topics: Leading for Mission, Collaboration for Mission and Formation for Mission

So far, over recent weeks, the Southern, Western and Northern regions of the Archdiocese have gathered for the Leading for Mission session.

Each session has been opened by the regional bishop, drawing on Pope Francis’ key apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, other Church documents around missionary renewal, and the call that Pope Francis and Archbishop Comensoli have invited us into.

Prayer is a key component of these sessions, enabling hearts to be oriented to God throughout this process.

In these recent sessions, participants were provided with questions to prompt conversation, and were encouraged to talk to people who were not from their parish, allowing them to learn from each other, inspire each other and identify wisdom together as a diocesan community.

The responses from these conversations will inform the development of a Take the Way of the Gospel resource pack to support parishes.

Parish clergy are invited to participate in future sessions with two lay representatives.

The first round of consultation sessions has almost been completed, with the Eastern Region session to be held on Thursday 4 May. The second round of regional consultation sessions, Collaboration for Mission, will occur in late May and early June, and the third round of sessions, Formation for Mission, in August and September.