- There is an absence of any sense of engagement from the Archbishop with correspondence or with dialogue. We got a 1 line acknowledgement of "letter and enclosures" before the as "you know... visit cluster"... sentence. That was in response to the reflection on the event of March 14; [ that event had some 500 hours of time from people on that day, a further 100 hours collating the day. It had a flow of ideas consistent with Ev G. We had also sent an article that expressed fears that a monocultural church was intended. We wonder if it was all read? (Afterthought - the word dialogue is one of the most frequent ones in Evangelli Gaugium. Sad to see little evidence yet of this.) ]
- Yet we are delighted that the Archbishop was active in the proclamation of Ev. G on Pentecost
- One of the ideas in a letter from a member of the VG, unresponded to, was of calling the Archdiocese to prayer with a novena up to Pentecost explicitly linked to the discernments of the future
- The archbishop sees the meetings with clusters as the next step and seems to have no interest in opinions to form thinking meanwhile. [A recent update to parishes saying meetings of clusters will begin with Mass, incidates a brevity of consultation that makes one meetign per cluster utterly insufficient. The hope is that one meeting in the Autumn is not the full extent of the discussions between each cluster and the archbishop]
- We mistrust the role of the Faith Movement in the archdiocese, given its very centralised clerical ecclesiology
The question that arises is therefore: How can clusters, parishes, individuals begin to take responsibility - as there is no immediate discernment being led by the Archbishop?
We reflected as briefly as was possible on what the Vigil Group had done (idea being that we look back in order to look forwards, sometimes...):
- begun with prayer in the initial 40 evening vigil, watching and listening to be drawn into other actions, always with a rootedness in prayer
- [. website with articles seeking to hearten those who feel things are wrong and feel isolated and latterly with letters and articles and doucuments concerning the reorganisation
- . providing evening each month for prayer and reflection and a safe space for sharing worries and ideas.
- . wrote letters seeking dialogue about the mass text (to then-cardinal, and ICEL when it sought responses to the new text)]
- April 2013: day-long meeting of prayer and reflection with some 30 people from across the archdiocese
- recording of Evangelii Gaudium
- March 2015: day of prayer and reflection with 120 people sharing prayer and reflection on the future of church
- making available books on future ways of being church (Emergingmodels series from the USA)
- proclamation of Evangelii Gaudium on Pentecost Sunday
What can we do NOW?
1. Propose by email/conversation that cluster meetings:
- are prayerful and so not fragmented into cross-parish tensions. E.g. spend half the time in prayer, with silence. (The meeting with priests seemed to have a perfunctory Hail Mary before getting down to the archbishop's vision....)
- are prepared: cluster conversations with Archbishop so random thoughts do not dissipate the time One question that intrigued us was: how have the letters (and previous cluster meetings) amended the vision that began this process?
- all parishes in a cluster need to share commitment to each other
- have a role play? In preparation.... perhaps rather than on the day.. Imagining the different roles especially in what seems fairly polarised tensions, can find outcomes that work
3. Fr Fallon proposes that we need a structured look at the last ten years since NITFT - we thought we'd try a blog page to solicit thoughts on this? Yet our circles of contacts are not comfortable with blogs!
We brought all this into prayer, seeking the guiding light in the encircling gloom, and put it into context with praying Ephesians 3.
Vigil Group - 15 July