The Joy of the Gospel

Our leadership and mission program is designed for key parish personnel – priests, pastoral councilors, finance committee members, school council members, catechists, teachers, deacons, seminarians, youth ministers, aspirational leaders.

It will offer the principles of leadership and mission within the context of our parishes, respecting and honouring their own unique culture and history. This program will work best if parish priest and key parish leaders attend together.

Our approach will be dialogical. There will be nine units of input, time for reflection, time for dialogue. Each session will involve:

  • 20 minutes of input
  • 10 minutes of reflection
  • 20 minutes of dialogue

Think of each 20 minutes of input as akin to a TED TALK, with a pertinent question that inspires creative thinking and feeling, and dialogue among participants. Each session will be facilitated by Tony Farley (CCER)

Unit One: “A Change of Era, not an Era of Change”

What is the “change of era?” How are these changes affecting our parishioners and our parish communities? What are the challenges? “If we don’t change, we cannot conserve.” What has to change so that we can “hand over” what we have received in our 4,000-year tradition?

Jesus proclaims in his Sermon on the Mount – “You are salt of the earth; you are light of the world.” Given this truth, can we outline the principles of our response? 

Unit Two: Jesus Christ, His Call, and the Christian Community

Jesus Christ is the source and summit of the Christian community. Who is Jesus? What is his mission? Why does his leadership inspire?

Jesus calls the twelve (Luke 9). Jesus calls the seventy-two (Luke 10). His call to discipleship is inclusive and is celebrated in the Church with the sacrament of baptism – the gateway to “life in the Spirit.” How do we deepen our consciousness of this great gift? 

The Acts of the Apostles describes the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in the life of the early Christian community. The community is described as being of “one heart and mind” and is manifest as a community proclaiming the mystery of Christ to both “Jew and Gentile.” Other key New Testament texts highlight the life and dynamism of the early Christian community, but also the tensions and struggles of believers living in the community. How might these important texts inform our parishes today?

Vatican Council II speaks of the Church in terms of “communion” and “co-responsibility.” How do we understand this theology and how does it inform our ecclesial culture and practice?

Unit Three: Leadership and Mission

What is the first question a leader should ask? What makes leaders great? What are the latest insights from the world’s best graduate schools of leadership and management? How can our parishes benefit?

Pope Francis speaks of “Missionary Disciples” and “Accompaniment.” St. Pope John Paul II spoke of the “New Evangelisation” and new ardour and new methods in our outreach to others.

What are we really talking about when we speak of Mission? How do parishes make it happen?

Unit Four: Our Experience of Parish – Our Desires for our Parish

The Christian community is experienced in the parish. This occurs at the Liturgical Gathering, in the Parish or Regional School, through various encounters with Catholic agencies.

What has been our experience of the Christian community? Why has the experience been a good experience – a poor experience?

What do we desire our parishes to be? Places of an encounter with the living Christ in the Sunday Eucharist? Communities of belonging, love, forgiveness, and openness? Communities with a clear mission of spreading the Gospel? Communities where authority is service and where the gifts of the Spirit are discerned and honoured?

Unit Five: “If you knew the Gift of God” (John 4:10)

What have we been given and are we able to receive? How best can we celebrate the gift of God in our parishes? In:

  • Sunday Eucharist
  • Word and Sacraments
  • Our Schools
  • Confraternity of Christian Doctrine
  • Youth Ministry
  • Marriage and Family

Unit Six: Governance & Stewardship

In the parish community, how do we fulfil our mission of stewardship, which involves governance of our human and financial resources?

Three key parish bodies aid the governance and stewardship in our community. What is their nature and what relationship should exist between them?

  • Pastoral Councils
  • Finance Committees
  • School Councils

In administering the temporal goods (land, property & money) of our parishes, we focus on Accountability, Transparency, Communication

Unit Seven: Teaching and Preaching

“The substance of the ancient doctrine of the deposit of faith is one thing, and the way in which it is presented is another.” (Pope John XXIII, 1962)

This unit examines our rich tradition of faith contained in the Word of God and Catechism and how we might present this in the 21st Century.

The deposit of faith
Our tradition speaks of two “lights” and two “wings.” God enlightens us with the “light” of faith and the “light” of reason. We ourselves rise to God on the “wings” of faith and reason.

What is the nature of the Word of God? How do we understand it and what is the Church’s role in helping us interpret scripture? How do we celebrate the Word of God in our Liturgy and in our personal lives? How have we understood human reason in our tradition and what are the new patterns of thought that are influential in our culture?

Modern Language and Communication
What are the new forms of linguistic expression and the new forms of communication? How are we currently using them and how might we improve our practice in our parishes?

Unit Eight: The Power of a Witness

“We listen more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if we do listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses.” (Pope Paul VI, 1975)

How best can we “hand over” our faith?

  • In Families
  • Our Schools
  • Confraternity of Christian Doctrine
  • Homilies
  • Youth Ministry

 Unit Nine: The Beauty and Power of Music

Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1173) noted that “music is entirely necessary for salvation.” Music is beautiful and it attracts the human heart.

What are the basic principles of Liturgical music/singing? What are forms of music suited to the Eucharistic Liturgy, Liturgies of the Word, Catechesis, Worship, Liturgy of the Hours?

What is the quality of music in our parishes and schools? How can we improve it? What resources do we have at our disposal? What are the personnel and financial constraints?