Consultation Phase 1 – What Is God's Will For Our Diocese?

Fr. Danny Convery, Sun 26 March 2023, Sun 26 March 2023, Taizé


The Need for our Diocese to Discern God’s Will

It is essential that as a diocese we discern together God’s Will. Only then can we be truly Led by the Spirit. Over the past six years our diocese has conducted three periods of discernment [1]. which highlighted six consistent themes. This suggests that we have been collectively open to the Spirit’s promptings regarding general direction. Therefore, this first phase of consultation will focus on these six areas:    - The desire for deeper spirituality (Universal Call to Holiness) - Growth of missionary awareness - Ongoing support/formation of clergy and laity - Effective catechesis - A more welcoming and open Church - Greater transparency in governance

1 Universal Call to Holiness

The purpose of human life is union with God. All depends on God’s grace. True holiness grows through (i) prayer and worship (ii) living in conformity with God’s Will. Every person is called to holiness. People must be encouraged and helped to deepen their personal relationship with God. A deeper bond with Christ strengthens our links with the Church but it will also intensify our love for other people. Pope Francis puts great emphasis on acts of love and mercy towards our neighbour and to live charity to the full which helps us to live as God wants.

How do we answer the call to holiness in a world filled with distractions, consumerism and indulgence?

2 Evangelisation

The Church’s primary task is missionary – to evangelise. Genuine holiness enables effective evangelisation since it firstly necessitates personal conversion, a renewed inner attitude. The greatest form of evangelisation is to live an authentic Christian life. Vatican II and every Pope since has stressed the need for evangelisation today. Our diocese is no exception. Evangelisation is (i) for those who do not know Christ (ii) for those who have fallen away (iii) to deepen the faith of those who are already committed.

How can we grow as a missionary Church?

3 Catechesis – Teaching of the faith

Everyone has the right to hear the Good News. All Christians have the right to be catechised. Catechesis is not merely imparting facts but more helping someone to encounter Christ.

[1]Bishop’s meetings in every parish, the Council of Priests and Deanery Meetings for laity 2017-18; the diocesan phase for the Bishops' Synod on Synodality 2021-22 and Bishop's meetings in every parish 2022-23.

How can we become more effective in teaching our faith in our homes and parishes across our diocese?

4 Formation of Laity and Clergy

All the baptised share in Christ’s Priesthood and consecrated to Him at baptism. Clergy, Religious and laity have particular and specific responsibilities. Growing in faith is a lifelong process that calls for a commitment to God, constantly learning (growing?) and being supported. How can we support our Lay people in living their vocation both in the Church and in society?

How can we support our clergy?

5 Transparency in Governance

The Church should be governed well for moral, practical, legal and reputational reasons. An important element of good governance is transparency, without denying confidentiality when it is appropriate. The need for transparency has been discerned by our diocese as well as across the Universal Church.

In what ways is our Church transparent and how can we become more transparent?