With Hearts Burning
LIVE THE MISSION
Summary of Module Six –
St Mary Star of the Sea
following is a summary of feedback from six groups representing the input from
50 + parishioners
1. Is your heart set on fire for the mission? Why do you think this is?
We become fired for mission
when we experience Gods love.
It is often through suffering that we become aware of God’s
When we see goodness everywhere our hearts come alive.
Yes the hearts of our group are all on fire for the mission but in
a way for the most of us, is reserved. We all respond to the call to mission by
the way we live, the example we show, by our values, attitudes and beliefs
we might not be physically involved, our hearts support the mission.
If our hearts are not on fire, at least now
there is an ember from this programme – and we want to grow it.
we do not feel our hearts have been set on fire and the evangelisation aspect
would take us out of our comfort zone that we have been in too long. Too many
aging party faithful and very few young ones come to Mass
Co-responsibility: In the past the priests
were obviously Catholic priests; now we ALL need to be obviously Catholic.
People known as Catholic should behave like
what they preach.” Simple examples – saying grace
before meals, living the
mission. Some sports
people bless themselves in public e.g. after scoring tries
Challenge is to be actively involved in the “Here and now.”
After all, the disciples were fishermen!!
Daily responsibility to dialogue with the people.
All of us.
main reason for not speaking up is FEAR
People in trouble like Christians to pray for
2. How have we or how can we form the people in our communities to evangelise
We have an evangelizing group. Live the life of
the gospel especially by listening to others. Catholic Enquiry Centre
“Go out – speak the word of God.”
In our little circle be respectful
Do we have to promote our religion or God? God.
Our spirituality is a gift.
We have groups within the Church like St
Vincent de Paul, Legion of Mary and Catholic Women’s League who evangalise in practical ways.
Younger generations are challenged by
modern day life – bombarded with other
distractions and material things.
Sympathetic leadership working with people who have the
zeal to reach out to others. Any training happens in tandem with action
This is more reflective of what Jehovah Witness do rather
than what we as a parish would do
We can at least live our lives as best we can adhering to our Christian values/ Catholic faith hopefully
leading by example doing mor to show the way
3. What helps us and prevents us from sharing our faith with others?
Shyness and busyness hinder us from
sharing our faith.
Feeling inadequate and fearing
rejection Not wanting to embarrass the other
We need a more open aspect of the modern church whereby
outsiders can consider us less secretive as we know we are not.
Groups like this.
Grace group – Strengthen their faith
Being strong in our faith practise.
Concentrate on our circle
Learning how to pray. How to meditate. Various methods of
An atmosphere of
Trust -Commonality of experience –Catholic Family groups.
Helps to say Hello to our neighbours. Prevents by not being
Big change with Mons in the parish.
4. Who has been a real influence in your Faith life?
They accepted what I told them with respect.
They lived the words of Jesus. Open. Eyes fill of joy. Genuine. Knew how to
Persons who lived authentically i.e their way of life reflected what they believed.
Learning about different forms of spirituality and having my own spirituality
All group members shared some experience:-
Irish girl. Attendance at a midnight Mass, Fr Spellman
Parents, Sr Winifred, Catholic Guides Group,
Catholic father, non Catholic
mother, Uncle who was a priest. Grandfather who converted to Catholicism at age
80!! Husband support
Marist brothers, Srs of St Joseph
A one off contact with Mother Theresa.
Others who obviously had God foremost in their lives
St Mary’s Convent through catechism teaching.
Parents are often the main influence – and
often the grandparents.
example of particular families –e.g. the Hogan family
The example and attitude of teachers is important.
Good humble priests and nuns with a good sense of humour and being role models.
Some denominations if religious seem to be
particularly influential e.g. the Dominicans
Church groups like the Men’s Group provide
support and effective group communication and contact with the priest on a
Everyone reacts differently to the influence
of people, actions and places.
Listening is important; hearing/heeding what
others are telling us.
We must lead by example.
5. How does the leadership in our parishes encourage the co-responsibility that
recognises both the rights and responsibility of the priests and people?
Leadership needs to be participative rather than
autocratic. Clericalism still exists in some parishes. Priests need to get back
to the essence of their call to mission and allow the people to administer the
parishes eg Anglican model
Good outward looking leadership is crucial. Not enough just
to mend the nets but to go fishing as well! Use the talents around us to the
max and make of every opportunity to reach out.
Have a leadership group comprised of laity.
Leadership to be participative. Laity now taking communion to the sick and
visiting. We would like to see laity writing the prayers of the faithful as
well as reading them. Use inclusive language to invite women to participate.
Laity could be invited to reflect on the word of God and not just be left to
Our Parish does show leadership – e.g.
by wholeheartedly supporting this programme.
There are leadership “hotspots” in the
Parish, and huge encouragement is given both by the clergy and the faithful.
Leadership is through the Parish Leadership
Mons Frank is doing a really good job
Reduction of Nuns and brothers in the schools. Aging priest
Doing what we are doing right now – small groups.
With Hearts Burning developing leadership in small groups
with a wide variety of tasks.
6. What are the challenges faced by your community in living out Christ’s
Main challenge is secularism
An aging community is our greatest challenge.
We are encouraging the youth to participate through prayer groups, liturgies,
Apathy. Passive Catholics. Age imbalance
Non Catholic comment particularly about abuse as exposed in
More transparency would be good
We are overwhelmed by outside influences
and need to find a balance,
The wider community does not appreciate
Sunday, but the broader Christian Community is out there. What we DO is noticed
Maybe we need to find a new initiative. Other
churches may be seen as perhaps more vibrant. Our schools are important for
If we are swamped by outside less desirable
influences, how are the young to find their way?
We need to create opportunities to build
fellowship and build our community.
We need to get people set up and
involved in the life of the parish as opposed to just attending Mass.
With hearts burning ,
prayer and discussion group we will be more aware of problems and encourage
ourselves to deal with them.
Initiatives we have/are engaged in:
· Welcoming people as
they arrive at Mass. Talking to them after Mass often over a cup of tea.
· Meet and greet at the
beginning of our Mass
· Monthly acknowledgement
and blessing of those with birthdays and anniversaries
· Monthly tributes to
those involved in special ministries through the STAR
· Winter Series, On Site
Retreat, Missions, Workshops
· With Hearts Burning
· Formation of new prayer
· Working Bees around the
Parish Centre and for the elderly
7 How can we assist initiatives and people to remain in the heart of the church?
By listening to them and hearing their story
without assuming or judgement.
what we are doing right now – small groups
church has been too rigid – a move to a more open church
Strong women in the gospel stories
many people Church teachings are a challenge e.g. birth control
do not always have to agree in order to be part of the church
People leave through
many different reasons and misunderstandings. How do we get them back? There is
RCIA for new Catholics
do need to show our love for one another
People do not
understand the Mass. Often attending a Requiem is the first contact.
can we do to counteract this?
we have everything available to help spiritual growth, along with encouragement
we have done all we can. Caring for others is important.
to provide a range of theological and social activities opportunities
8. Digital resources will never replace face to face contact with people. What
digital resources would you like to see.
Lot of the laity are very gifted in this area.
We would like them to keep our website updated regularly. Also in our weekly
newsletter, or Star, given a list of resources that people have found helpful.
We have enjoyed the power point.
We recognise this is a critical development in the church.
Can we stream Mass to people at home, in retirement
Set up a mailing list for all those on email
Good websites are a useful tool for
research, hymns, prayers. One of our group uses a website for praying the
Heaps of good websites and sound Theologians
exploring faith, doctrine, spirituality on YouTube .Opportunities for groups to
come together to discuss these together.
The local Parish has a good website and the
Diocesan website is also good.
Bishop Steve is sharing
Catholic practices on Facebook
Nothing beats face to face encounters but programmes like
Alpha are good.
9. How comfortable are you praying with others? What did the experience of
praying for others do for you?
Most of us felt reasonably comfort praying with
others. Doing so deepened our own faith and we felt more connected with the
person. Depends on personality, situation and setting. The person being prayed
for felt loved and heard. Often healed.
Range of opinion from quite happy to not very comfortable
Comfortable at Mass. Communal prayers eg
Rosary are no problem
Acknowledged that small groups from other religions pray
more easily. Eg Baptist
Most of our group are comfortable with
both Catholic and Non Catholic groups. Often in the feeling of fellowship we
recognise the influence of the Holy Spirit. We can learn from others.
For some spontaneous prayer is a new experience;
we need to do more of this. Often we get a feeling of being more centred, less
Praying with others is an excellent way to pray. It needs
to be encouraged and seen as normal.
Priests laying on of hands and prayer during Mass for
people who are ill or leaving the district and encourage others to do the same
10. How does your community engage in ecumenism and interreligious dialogue?
We have interfaith gatherings during the year.
Some of us belong to interfaith groups One in the group has given services for
the Presbyterians. Also run a retreat for them. Take devotions for a Rest Home.
Make them feel welcome to use our facilities.
Participation in Combined Services.eg Ash
Wednesday, Blessing of graves, Blessing of animals. Participation in
2 – 3 times a year we share a combined church service with
other churches in the community. The services are followed by a social occasion
Support other churches and Ecumenical groups when they
offer a positive opportunity.
11. How do you think a non-Catholic would look at your community?
Some find us welcoming. Others find us exclusive however
Mons is trying to overcome this by explaining to others what is happening and
how to respond. Would like to see our liturgies more focused on people and not
the rules. Need more flexibility. Some readings at Mass are not speaking or
suitable to those present.
Too starchy, too conservative. Middle class church. Weird
language in the Mass
Non Catholics think we are in a separate world because we
do not reach out enough and are very self-contained. Rather closed. People come
and go but no one notices or cares
People have respect for what I have to say as a Catholic.
Respect for the inclusive nature of funerals held in St
Our community is probably seen in a negative light due to
the child porn publicity.
We must keep our liturgy and the atmosphere in the Church
alive and welcoming. A
Catholic Requiem Mass with its dignity, music and symbolism is an example to
11 & 12. What outreach mechanisms do you have to meet the myriad of social
need that the wider community and families in general are facing?
The group felt we were doing this well.
Groups included, St Vincent de Paul, Catholic Women’s
League, Legion of Mary, Social Justice Group, Bible study group, Men’s group,
meditation group, Marion group, Schools activities. Eco –spirituality initiatives
eg Global Climate movement pledge. Caritas
involvement and known for its global charity. Clean up of beaches and river
Very strong involvement of Active Catholics in Citizens
advice, Hospice, Rotary International, community organisations, sports clubs,
Pregnancy Help, Caritas, Fund raising for crisis relief.
One person felt that we can study and answer
questions yet in the end leadership seems to go back to the priest. Priest need
to be encouraged share with the laity. The laity need to be trained in
spirituality. Love always involves mutuality and equality. This is not being
practised by priests in many cases.
We must be active in supporting
initiatives – writing submissions regarding human and
Church issues e.g. drugs, abortion etc.
St Vincent de Paul and other Catholic groups
need more volunteers.
Marian groups support families. As
life changes many (family based) groups disperse Sometimes groups can change as
differing needs arise.
Schools promote families and Young
Vinnies are active in our schools. These give
valuable community support.
But how do we assist with Community problems
We seem to have asked as many questions as we have