A report on the Sydney consultation in preparation for the 2012 Synod on the 'New Evangelization'
Globalisation and the need for church structures for listening and dialogue were some of the areas discussed at a public consultation on the Lineamenta issued in preparation for the Synod of Bishops General Assembly to be held in Rome in 2012.
On the 28th of September Catholic Mission, Parramatta Institute for Mission and Columban Mission Institute co-hosted the consultation entitled "Breaking Open the Lineamenta: Proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ in 21st Century Australia" at St Patrick’s Cathedral Hall, Parramatta.
The Synod’s topic will be "The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith". Bishop Christopher Prowse and Bishop Timothy Costelloe SDB will represent the Australian Church with Bishop Julian Porteous as a substitute delegate. The Parramatta event was attended by a cross-section of the Sydney Catholic Church. It centred on four issues “as being at the heart of the New Evangelization". These four issues were set out in a discussion paper issued on behalf of Bishops Prowse, Costelloe and Porteous. The first issue identified "our changed and changing cultural and social situation". The second addressed “the need to re-read the 'memory of faith'. The third named "the need to energetically accept the new responsibilities to which this situation gives rise and the fourth issue was "the search for new energies which will underpin a joyous and convincing proclamation of the Gospel."
After a welcome to the Diocese by Vicar General Fr. Peter Williams, each theme was taken up by two speakers, one presenting the theological underpinning of the issue, the other dealing with the practical issues of implementation in the Australian Church and society. The speakers were Dr Gerard Goldman, Sister Susan Connolly rsj, Dr Jonathan Tan, Ms Sandie Cornish, Rev Dr Patrick McInerney, Dr Trish Madigan op, Ms AnnMaree Whenman and Mr Daniel Ang.
In opening Dr Goldman said, "Globalization is the mega-context from which evangelization must engage and the critical starting point is an attitude of listening and dialogue". Sr Susan Connelly named St Mary of the Cross MacKillop as a role model for how to capture the essence of the movement of the Spirit in the Australian context, not only influencing society, but being influenced by it. Many values said to be Australian correspond to Gospel values and should be promoted.
The speakers summed up some important aspects of the Australian Church for the consideration of the bishops in the lead-up to the Synod. We need to have a "washing of the feet" attitude. Our diversity and plurality are sources of richness, strength and opportunity. Prophetic witness by dialogue and deeds is needed as is a suitable social media presence telling the story of Catholic views and action. We need to collaborate with others for the common good. We need to acknowledge the full Christian identity and mission of all the baptized. The content and dynamic of mystagogy could renew pastoral practice. Catholic schools are rich places of evangelization. Many God-seeking generations are outside the parish so we need creative approaches of accompanying them in their journey of growth and commitment, particularly the young.
The gathering accepted recommendations in principle which, along with other comments from the participants, will be sent to Bishops Prowse, Costelloe and Porteous.
Lineamenta Talks, Papers and Recommendations
THEME ONE: A discernment of the changes in various cultural and social settings and their impact on Christian life
1. The Church and Cultures in Transition, Dr Gerard Goldman
00:07:33 | Oct 21, 2011
00:06:15 | Oct 21, 2011
THEME TWO: A Re-Reading of the Memory of Faith
3. New Way of Being Church in Today’s World, Dr Jonathan Tan
00:06:54 | Oct 21, 2011
00:08:25 | Oct 24, 2011
THEME THREE: The Undertaking of New Responsibilities in the Proclamation of the Gospel
5. The Church’s Mission is Multi-Dimensional, Rev Dr Patrick McInerney
00:08:20 | Oct 21, 2011
00:04:12 | Oct 21, 2011
THEME FOUR: The Generation of New Energies which will Allow for the Joyous and Convincing Proclamation of the Gospel
7. Good News, Ms AnnMaree Whenman
00:09:13 | Oct 21, 2011
00:07:37 | Oct 24, 2011