Parish Pastoral Council's Synod Submission

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St Mary of the Angels and St Joseph's – a shared history and a new future together
Update on the Synod
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The Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) has made a submission into the Synod process, drawn from the November 2021 discussion and from information and comments submitted by parishioners.

There is still time to make an individual, a family, or a group submission. These must be completed by the end of this month.

The online submission form is on the Archdiocese of Wellington Website.

Any information for the PPC can be submitted through Abby Cummins at the parish office.


Neal Swindells
Deputy Chair Parish Pastoral Council

Journey Together – Ten Themes: One Parish Response

As an output of the workshop conducted last year on the Synod theme of ‘Listening’ summary notes were taken in order to capture our Parish response. The Parish Pastoral Council suggested that these could be submitted in the format of the survey. It was agreed that because many of the comments were recorded in the words of those who attended the notes should be submitted as captured. These were allocated under the ten themes within the two or three questions under each theme, which were thought most relevant. Here is a summary of responses categorised across the ten themes:

  • Our Journey Together - Jesus wants us to walk together, side by side.

    Our group felt that we as Catholics are okay walking side-by-side, together and within wider society. We desire God to be present in our life journeys as well as our community. That sense of community is very important to many of us.

    However, people felt that some groups were not included or welcomed. The promise of Vatican II and the universal church has not been fulfilled. Some people feel excluded because they wanted a Latin Masses, others because they had relationship breakdowns and were no longer married. In this broad church there are also clearly a broad range of views on the extent to which the Church is truly welcoming.

  • Our Listening.

    Our group felt the Church was not very good at listening. Some in our group expressed a strong desire to have more lay involvement in our Church, others mentioned the language of the Church as not being contemporary so does not resonate with youth or those outside the Church.

    There was a concern that the Church does not seem to have relevance for future because it does not address the needs of women, or of youth, of LGBTQ+ people and others who are excluded for one reason or another.

  • Our Speaking Up - Everyone is invited to speak boldly and courageously in freedom, truth, and love.

    Our feedback was that the Church is not very good at speaking out in public. There was a view that what we hear from the Church does not reflect what we hear of Jesus Christ. It was suggested that if hospitality and welcome are very important to us then we would always hope that anyone comes feeling welcomed and included, but this is not the case.

    A number of things or hindered our Church's public visibility this includes not properly addressing deep seated and very upsetting issues that are very important for a lot of people. Sexual Abuse is one of those things we can’t retreat from and has, to some degree, compromised Church authority and even its willingness to advance moral positions or arguments.

  • Gathering- For Catholics, 'togetherness' is based on gathering to explore the Gospels (Word) and to break bread (Eucharist).

    We had mixed reactions about how our gathering for prayer (including Mass) meet people’s needs. It was felt that in many ways Reconciliation, Masses, and other Sacraments make the Church a hard place for the separated, divorced or those in ‘irregular’ relationships to be involved with.

    On the question of other failings to meet people’s needs, comments included such simple actions as priests no longer welcoming people at the door of the church before Mass.

  • Our Mission Walking together enables us all to accept our mission to share the Good News.

    We also had mixed views on whether we, as Catholics, take our mission seriously. A sense of belonging and being included are very important to people – it is this sense of belonging which often provides people with an opportunity to gain their voice. It was felt that we need to more fully appreciate and utilise the wonderful gifts we have among us.

    One of the things stopping us being active in mission is that something is evidently wrong when we have a so many children attending those Catholic schools but are not coming to church. It appears that there are many challenges like this, so it is difficult to maintain motivation.

  • With Other Christians - Walking with other Christians is essential to our mission to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

    This was a question not addressed specifically in our group discussions.

  • Sharing responsibility - Our Church is all about participation and shared responsibility.

    This was another question which was not specifically discussed.

  • Our Decision-Making - Our aim is to make decisions by discerning what the Holy Spirit is saying through our whole community.

    The group felt that as a Church we are doing this well. Evidence of this this process of the Synod, as well as previous work forming Parishes for Ministry, establishing Pastoral and other groups. However, it was clear that our whole Parish community did not have the same experience of this. The last few years have been particularly difficult for St Joseph’s, and this journey is continuing.

    It was felt that one way of improving our efforts in this is to address the issues of diminishing numbers of Clergy – by looking at opening up the clergy to women, married people or those who wish to marry.

  • Learning to Journey Together - All of us need to be open to change and ongoing learning.

    Our group felt that Catholics are open to change and new learning. One group expressed that the culture of our Church should be to feel comfortable to share without fear, and to feel totally accepted in our humanity. It was noted that Jesus accepted everyone and reached out with love to all. Such as culture should enhance trust and confidence in one another.

    However, our group found Church leaders were not always open to change. The general feeling was that we all need to step out of our comfort zones.

This feedback is not intended to represent the totality of Parish’s response. This was a collection of themes and comments that came out of our Parish workshop.

Everyone’s feedback is being welcomed, so please as an individual, as a family, or as a group fill out the Online Synod Response Tool.