“ I have a dream. I dream of a ‘missionary Church', so that all her structures can be used for the evangelization of today’s world rather than for her own self-preservation.”
Evangelii Gaudium, 27 (On the Proclamation of the Gospel in Today’s Word), Pope Francis, 2013.
The Diocesan Mission Map
The Diocesan Mission Map is the guideline for the diocese and faith community to use in order to build a strong and authentic mission focused Christian community. It listens to the signs of the times and spreads the message of Christ in words and deeds.
Through the Diocesan Mission Map, Bishop Patrick Dunn urges all the baptised in the diocese to follow Pope Francis’ call to reach out beyond their parish, community and school boundaries to bring the good news and the love of Jesus to all.
Renew, Re-source and Restructure
We are called to embrace the challenge of Pope Francis for the joyful and pastoral conversion of our parishes, so that our practices, resources, language and structures can be suitably channelled for the evangelisation of today’s world (Evangelii Gaudium 27).
Pope Francis has called that the time had come to proclaim the Gospel in a new way - “a new phase of evangelisation that (has) existed from the beginning” (Misericordiae Vultus 4), and calls us to reawaken parishes to new life, instil courage to look to the future with hope, and to promote the evangelisation of cultures and our world with new enthusiasm and renewed missionary intent.
Why do we need to look at new ways of Mission?
In the wide net, there seem to be a deep misunderstanding about: God, about the way the bible is to be read, about the relationship between Faith and Reason (Religion and Science) and about the Church.
We as the baptised Catholics need to strengthen our Faith in order to know Jesus better and to Love Him. We need to reach out to those Catholics who have left the Church and have become the 'Nones'. We need to reach out to those who do not know Jesus, and to those who hunger to know Jesus.
To look again, start again can seem daunting. Here are some ideas for consideration, to promote discussion, to critique to make your own.
A range of ideas that communities could take inspiration from. Use, adapt, change… GO FOR IT
Your communities may already be doing many of the great things outlined. Celebrate these. And remember..that every community and individual is called to grow and share faith all the time, in all ways.
These are just a few starters and certainly not an exhaustive list.
Consider taking on this as an individual Mission effort
Instead of random acts of kindness let each of us plan and search for the opportunity for: Intentional Moments of Mission.
It could be holding a baby for a harassed mum in the supermarket; paying a parking fee for a pensioner, sitting with a homeless person for a chat, ringing up the housebound for a chat or………..
Nurture a welcoming community
Consider the following
a. Appoint a welcome coordinator to organise that
– each person is welcomed
– newcomers are identified and invited to become part of community life
– follow up on newcomers, ring them, invite them to become involved
– ensure community activities are publicised in Church notices and social media including the parish website.
b. Review and ensure signs throughout the parish plant – consider being bi-lingual in your signs
Pastoral Areas are a method of collaborating for Mission. As well as adjoining parishes they include schools and ethnic communities thus providing a rich resource for Mission.
Community leaders including parish pastoral councils and ministry groups, schools BOT and staff, ethnic chaplains and councils, can explore how they can ‘work smarter’ to provide a compelling witness to our Church as a communion.
Some areas to consider for collaboration include:
– the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults
– social justice initiatives particularly as a form of common witness to faith
– shared adult faith education opportunities
– shared social gatherings
– sacramental preparation
… other areas of pastoral life where working together provides both witness and positive outcomes
- Reach out activities & fun classes widely publicised to attract people
- Use website resources such as Kid’s Korner
- Outreach through St Vincent de Paul, Mercy Hospice, schools, Catholic Social Services, other religious groups to the marginalised eg: homeless
- Include ‘Welcome any time in Church’ along with Mass times in local papers
- Have sandwich board ‘Welcome’ sign on footpath outside church when church is open
- Have got an open group Facebook page
- New Evangelisation – invite people Catholic & non-Catholic to gatherings which consist of songs, real-life sharing, prayers, simple meals – the model of Alpha.
- Run ‘drives’ to gather resources for distribution to those in need e.g pyjamas, toiletries
5 F’s magic – Fun, Food, Fellowship, Faith, Fishing (for people)
- Let God’s Word take root in families through promoting Liturgy of the Word
- Form more leaders so that the same people don’t have to do the same thing all the time.
- Family Fun & Reflection leaflet in newsletter
- Reach out to home-bound
- Target efforts to attract & retain teenagers though youth friendly liturgies & other activities. Contact the youth team to find out about Life Teen a wonderful resource to promote inclusive Church
- Involve representatives of all Catholic Faith Communities – parishes, Schools, Groups – in developing a shared sense of participation in mission.
Communication – Create and maintain an up-to-date database
Consider how the community engages with social media and the use of technology
a. Review parish websites and to ensure that they a user friendly and include such elements as:
– vision for the parish community
– an accurate list of contact details for the parish team, ministry groups,….
– Mass timetable and parish calendar
– links to on-line faith resources, diocesan agencies and services, local Catholic schools, pastoral area communities
– welcome to searchers – both those at the edge of the community and those new to the faith
b. Look at other technological ways to build and share faith including addressing the needs of young people and families this could be Face Book, Twitter, Instagram……
– include structures that ensure that these are relevant and updated frequently
– look at how these social media tools can spread the Good News as well as communicate with the community.
Explore other aspects of Communication for Mission.