Townsville Diocese: Becoming New in Christ

Parishes in the Diocese of Townsville are undergoing a significant transformation in the way they commit to and carry out the mission of making Christ known in their local communities.

Geoff Gowdie, Director of Diocesan Mission Support Services speaks on Evangelise Plus about the journey from their Diocesan Assembly, through the early planning stages and now to the implementation of the Becoming New in Christ initiative.

Geoff GowdieIn the video Geoff speaks about the catalysts for this renewal process, how the initiatives have been received and how the fruits of their labours will be evaluated. Geoff also offers some learnings from the experience which might help other parishes and dioceses who are on similar journeys.

In entrusting this initiative to the members of the Townsville Diocese, Bishop Timothy Harris wrote:

“‘Cultural’ Catholicism is no more, because the direction of society around us is away from religion, sometimes aggressively so. To be Catholic today requires an intentional decision. As more people go with society’s flow, it is too easy for priests and parish leaders to slip into the role of managers and management committees. These factors create strong pressures to be maintenance-focused, a routine-driven keeping things going as best we can ‘for those who are here’.  At risk, however, is the loss of our missional purpose which is key to the energy and growth that comes from active response to the Holy Spirit, both 'outreach' and 'inreach', what our Diocesan Assembly called ‘going wider’ and ‘going deeper’.  We need, as Pope Francis says, to undertake the ‘pastoral conversion’ that Becoming New in Christ invites us into.”

The aim over the next five years is to make liturgy and parish ministry, especially to young people, more vibrant. Communication and “ecological conversion” will also be points of focus. To enable this there will be a strong focus on the formation of parish leadership teams, namely the Parish Mission Leadership Team, the Parish Mission Council and the Parish Mission Finance Council. Alongside this will be the resetting of each parish’s focus for mission, that is “going deeper and wider” in all its activities.

Geoff acknowledges the challenges associated with such an endeavour. However, he senses a real commitment by the clergy, religious and laypeople to make the required changes to move from maintenance to mission-oriented parishes. To hear more about the Becoming New in Christ initiative, please visit Evangelise Plus.




Images: Supplied. Burdekin Parish Mission Leadership Team, Geoff Gowdie.
Words: Sharon Brewer

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