Listening Circle Feedback
Facilitator name: Deacon Weston Barwise
A Synodal Church, in announcing the Gospel, ‘journeys together.’ Drawing on the fundamental question of the synod, we invite you to reflect on the question:
How is this journeying together happening in your local church (parish/ archdiocese)? What inspires and animates you, what makes you thankful and grateful about your Catholic life?
One true church. Catholic Faith is the moral compass of the world. Light of Christ to others. Universal church
Holy Mass is central to all parishioners’ practice of the faith. Blessed to have numerous Masses on Sundays and during the week. The universality of Mass enables attendance in any country or language; able to participate fully irrespective of language differences. Live Streaming during Covid welcomed; practice of faith bought into the home.
Holy Eucharist. True presence of Jesus; blessed to receive the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ regularly. Eucharistic Adoration24/7/365days; many blessings.
Sacraments. Access to all the sacraments; (Specifically mentioned: Reconciliation, Eucharist) Grace and guidance from the Holy Spirit.
Traditions of the Church and Saints. History of church and the holy lives of the saints strengthens the foundation of the church. The rich church history models how to practice the faith. The example of the lives of the saints fosters a deeper knowledge and meaning of the faith; model on how to practice the faith.
Sense of Community in parish. Many groups/ministries to join to be actively involved in the life of the church. Choir/CWL/Faith Sharing Groups/Catechists specifically highlighted.
Our Priests. Loving understanding, approachable. Continued priestly leadership
Veneration of Mary, Mother of God. Regular praying of the rosary
What disappoints, wounds, or even disillusions you?
Church today. More worldly than spiritual. The Church lacks transparency and openness to the world. Church is not vocal on social/political issues; Anglican Archbishop must more visible in the media. Women are marginalised from the clergy and Church Hierarchy. Lack of inclusion of certain people e.g., LGBTQ community; same sex couples. Acceptance of all people; forgiveness and love preached but this does not happen.
Lack of reverence during Mass, specifically for the Eucharist. Few vocations; church must pray for vocations. Society is impacting on the Sacrament of Holy Order and Marriage; the church should do more to protect these sacraments.
Scandals. Sexual abuse covered up; few prosecutions. Handling of the sexual abuse allegations has placed the Catholic Church in a bad light; difficult to defend the church. Corruptions at Archdiocese level (CWD) Church must be open in addressing real issues in accordance with the teaching of the church.
Spirituality. Holy days have been diluted e.g.; Ascension Day no longer a day of obligations. Insufficient ongoing faith deepening opportunities e.g., retreats. Little guidance from the clergy regarding the Liturgical Calendar and special times.
Catechism. Children appear not to be taught traditional prayers in Catechism. Inexperienced youngsters are teaching catechism. Parents not taking responsibility for their children’s religious life; lack of support of catechetical program. Lack of courses to teach youth leaders within the parish – “how things were done 40 yrs. ago is still being done”
Youth. Many young people leave the church after Confirmation; often moving to more charismatic Christian denominations. Appear not to be adequately grounded in the faith. Youth e.g., Life Teen not participating in the Mass.
Family spiritual life. Parents struggling to cope with the demands and pressures of modern life. Development of spiritual life of children abdicated to catechists. Parents may not attend Mass or practice the faith in the home.
Parishioners. Catholics have become complacent. Some only attend selected celebrations of Mass/Sacraments e.g., special family celebrations such as christening, weddings, 1st Holy Communion/ Christmas and Easter celebrations.
Rosary. Resistance to praying the Rosary prior to Mass by some parishioners.
Rules during Covid. Withdrawal of holy water; lack of appreciation of the use and meaning in daily spiritual life.
Priests Homilies not topical, should be relevant to help us cope with the current state of the world; should relate to the faith. Priests must consistently apply the teachings and laws of the Church. Parishioners have left the Catholic faith and moved to other Christian denominations that were considered to be more compassionate, when a priest has applied the law of the church strictly. This lack of consistency causes confusion. Priests to guide parishioners in line with the faith. When changes are made in the parish, the reason/logic must be communicated to the parishioners e.g., Stations of the Cross, Glass-Stained Windows.
Parish. Ministries – same leaders over many years; new ideas not welcomed; train new leaders. New parishioners are not welcomed; some people experience a lack of community. Other faiths seem to be more welcoming.
Choir. Hymns change too often; congregation participation limited. One choir only as we are one parish.
Where in particular is the spirit calling for growth and change in our thinking and practices?
Church. Back to basics. Create and sustain a solid foundation to deepen our faith and spirituality. Worldwide leadership is too old. Appoint younger people.
New look at evangelisation. Retain the essence of the faith and history but use a more modern approach. Evangelisation in the charismatic movement could be considered. Synod will shake up the Church which is a good thing.
Equal dignity but different function with regards to gender. Change celibacy rule; ordain married men; may increase vocations. Accept all people irrespective of sexual preference; more understanding (Alternate view – church should not accept all things). Reach out to divorcees – don’t condone but understand and accept people.
Church to be more in touch with modern family life (teenagers, young adults) whilst retaining the traditions and celebrations of the liturgy.
Church should be more vocal about world events/ crises. More socio-economic outreach programmes e.g., how do we respond to the KZN floods.
Use technology innovatively to inspire, inform and guide – specifically to attract youth and young adults back to the faith.
Focus on world of today with prayers – e.g., Ukraine – No Masses have been offered in parish.
Vocations. Concerted drive to increase growth in vocations. Seminarians to be trained in psychology; communication; people skills
Archdiocese to play a stronger lead and guiding role. Marked differences between various parishes – take a stronger role in having a more succinct and holistic approach which provides a common baseline e.g., novenas, bible study, faith groups.
Parish. Employ lay persons, with remuneration, to administer the parish; priest to focus on spiritual life. Change leadership in ministries; train new leaders.
Bring back Child care/Sunday School during Masses. Special children mass once a month; Charismatic masses.
More community interface participation; become involved with the other churches and Christian communities in the area. Welcome parishioner.
Encourage parishioners to seek help when they experience problems. Large area with only one counsellor with very limited access to her. Increase counsellors and accessibility.
More opportunities for confession.
Put up Liturgical calendar e.g., with novenas, Feast Days, Saints. More faith sharing groups. Back to basics – reverence for Mary, St Joseph, Eucharist. Promote Eucharist Adoration.
More modern music.
Cultural inclusivity. Accommodate different languages; Choir/rosary – sing and pray in the various representative languages. Use choir to unity the parish.
Catechesis. Improve approach, Catechists need to be upskilled. Children should not be forced to attend against their will; could be reason why they leave the church. Faith teaching up to Confirmation is not enough – more faith courses needed.
Youth. Involve youth in a ministry for 3 years/confirmation years. Spiritual development needs attention (kids come to catechism but not mass).
Spiritual Growth. Workshops/retreats etc to help us on our life journey; growth in faith/deeper prayer life. Bible study/in-depth study of the scripture options. More emphasis on the blessing of the Holy Spirit. Offer Life in the Spirit Seminar again.