Just over six months has passed since we launched Stage 2 of our Diocesan Pastoral renewal programme, Hope in the Future. At the Launch Bishop John reminded the parishioners and clergy gathered from around the diocese that the two key focuses of this Stage are:
Since the launch we have much to celebrate…
In October, David Wells led a day for our Clergy on Hope in the Future exploring the recent writings of Pope Francis and our hopes for the future of our parishes. This was a well attended day and chance for our clergy to come together share their thoughts on the challenges and opportunities for the future.
‘Charisms are special graces given to individuals by the Holy Spirit to be used for the up building if the Church. Charisms spring from our relationship with Christ; from a desire to serve him and his Kingdom.’
During these days there was opportunity for group discussion and attendees received a Spiritual Gifts Inventory to help them prayerfully discern their Gifts, Talents and Charisms and attend the planned training days to assist with the various areas of parish life.
Videos of the talks from the Stage 1 formation days are available on the diocesan youtube channel.
This spring saw the start of a series of training days aimed at helping people to discern and grow their own gifts and talents. The first training day to Develop and Support School and Parish links. Sr Judith Russi gave an inspiring keynote address on ‘7 ways from school to parish’ which was followed by workshops on involving young people in the parish, Catholic Social Teaching and the relationship between headteachers and parish priests. Resources to develop and support school and parish links can be found here.
We have also hosted a training day on Growing in the Gifts of the Spirit. Fr Eamonn Mulcahy gave a keynote on the Holy Spirit and this was followed by workshops on praying, fasting and almsgiving and on the supernatural gifts of the Spirit. You can listen to Fr Eamonn’s talk here.
Last weekend our third training day was led by David Wells and was for our Catechists from around the diocese. In his keynote he spoke of the importance of joy and accompaniment when passing on the faith. Workshops on the new First Holy Communion and Reconciliation programme, the new Confirmation programme, Baptism and RCIA followed. You can listen to David Wells talk here.
There are still a number training days you can come along to. They include Parish Management, Digital Missionaries, Parish Social Action and Parish Missionaires. In June Sherry Weddell, author of Forming Intentional Disciples, will be leading a session for our clegry and parish teams. You can register for these events here
It is fantastic to see so many events that have brought representatives from around our parishes together but there has been plenty of activity around the parishes too……
St Peter’s, Middleton
The Hope in the Future Team at St Peter’s in collaboration with Fr Peter and Fr Paul organised a celebration of Quarant Ore. Quarant Ore is devotion in which continuous prayer is made for forty hours before the Blessed Sacrament in solemn exposition. The large red votive candles were purchased by parishioners to burn throughout the weekend in remembrance of their special intentions.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel with St John Bosco’s Church, Blackley
The Hope in the Future team organised a Quarant’ore leading up to January 31st, the feast of St John Bosco, who is a patron of our parish with Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The Blessed Sacrament was exposed for the 40 hours on the altar, which was beautifully decorated with flowers and candles. Parishioners purchased 100 candles, which were lit in remembrance of special intentions.
Can you spend sometime in prayer before Jesus truly present in the Blessed Sacrament asking Him what He wants you to do for your Parish and Diocese? Here is a suggested Holy Hour Prayer Service you can use in your parish.
Our Lady’s and St Alphonsus, Moss side and Trafford
The Hope in the Future team at Our Lady’s and St Alphonsus organised and ran an Alpha Course in their parish. The team thought it would be a good idea if all members of the team had a first-hand experience of Alpha – both as leaders and members. As a result, they planned a taster six week course and publicised this within the parish. On the first night over 40 members of the community attended. Each week there was a wonderful atmosphere sharing a meal, watching the videos, and engaging in discussions about different aspects of our faith. On our final night, they gave each person a crucifix that had been blessed by Our Lady at Medjugorje on Christmas day. They hope to run an Alpha course for the wider community in the future.
Could you run an Alpha course in your parish or school? Here is an information sheet describing how to.
So many of our parishes are involved in social action. This map showcases all the good work taking place around the Diocese in helping those most in need.
If you have something to share from your parish please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In May 2019 a guide was issued to parishes with advice on how to set up a Shared Leadership Team. The resource includes suggested models which have worked well in a number of parishes. Bishop John has asked that all parishes make every effort to have a Shared Leadership Team in place by the launch of Stage 3 in October 2019. You can view the resource here.
All the resources produced to date can be downloaded here including videos, presentations and audio recordings from the training days – https://www.dioceseofsalford.org.uk/parishes/resources/
Let us continue to pray for the success of the Hope in the Future programme and for all our parishes that we may be a beacon of Hope to those around us.
Stay with us Lord on our Journey