Archbishop Julian Porteous has launched a major new initiative for the Hobart Archdiocese, seeking to reignite the missionary spirit in parish communities in Tasmania. Source: Hobart Archdiocese.
The Archbishop launched the Parish Mission Plan, “A Vision for Parishes: Encounter, Discipleship and Mission”, on January 31 during an online meeting with priests of the archdiocese.
Encountering Christ was key, Archbishop Porteous said, in bringing about renewal in parishes.
“Encounter with the person of Jesus Christ is at the heart of the Catholic faith,” Archbishop Porteous said. “The key to renewing our parish will be the opportunity for our people to have a real personal encounter with Christ.
“That would happen particularly through exposure to the Word of God and the liturgy, through the sacramental life.
“It doesn’t have to be some Damascus Road experience … If you read the Word of God and you sense it’s speaking to your life in a very particular way, it’s an encounter with God.”
Over the next 12 months, parishes will be encouraged to devise a strategy of simple initiatives to become more mission-oriented in evangelising their own parishioners as well as reaching out to the broader community.
This will involve parish priests working closely with a small number of parishioners to envision what they would like their community to be, and introduce new initiatives to work towards that vision and foster a greater sense of mission.
“The place to begin is to dream of what we would like our parish to become,” Archbishop Porteous said. “What would we love to see happen to our parish so that it becomes a vibrant Christian community?”
Archbishop Porteous said focusing on “encounter”, “discipleship” and “mission” was meant to encourage priests and parishioners to “see their parish in a new way”.
“It’s not about programs,” he said. “It’s not about formulas for how to do things. It’s really about creating a culture in the parish.”
A new vision for Tasmanian parishes launched (By Catherine Sheehan, Hobart Archdiocese)