On the first Sunday in Advent – 28 November 2021 – the beginning of the Church’s new year – Archbishop Malcolm McMahon launched THE PASTORAL PLAN.
He says ‘This plan is to chart the way forward for the Archdiocese in the years to come.
You can read/download The Pastoral Plan BY CLICKING HERE
But The Pastoral Plan is so significant that a special website has been created, where you will be able to find not only The Pastoral Plan, but essential background information, videos, podcasts and other materials.
Take a look now BY CLICKING HERE
THE PASTORAL PLAN is based on the outcomes of the SYNOD 2020 consultations.
THANK YOU once again to our Synod 2020 members in our parishes – Jo Callow, Weronika Kubica, Vida Manuel, Joseph Miranda, Siobhan Molloy, Brian O’Connor, Doireann O’Mahony and Damian Peter for completing this task.
We will be living with this document for years to come
and using it as a resource as we renew the mission and work of the Archdiocese.
It is an inspiring document.
Here are some highlights :
It begins with a word from Pope Francis, speaking at an earlier Synod in Rome in 2018:
‘Let us work to “spend time with the future”, to take from this Synod not merely a document – that generally is only read by a few and criticized by many – but above all concrete pastoral proposals capable of fulfilling the Synod’s purpose. In other words, to plant dreams, draw forth prophecies and visions, allow hope to flourish, inspire trust, bind up wounds, weave together relationships, awaken a dawn of hope, learn from one another, and create a bright resourcefulness that will enlighten minds, warm hearts, and give strength to our hands.’(Pope Francis’ address at the opening of the Synod of Bishops on Young People – Pastoral Plan p.3)
The document firmly focuses on the centrality of Christ:
In calling Synod 2020 we affirmed a belief that God speaks to us as we listen to the voices of all the people, lay, religious, deacons, priests and bishops of the archdiocese. This has been made real in our experience of synodality, as we listened to and discerned with a great cloud of witnesses. So our pastoral plan begins by a call to closely focus our sights on Jesus. But where will we find him? Here, we must be careful with our language; this section of the pastoral plan is not entitled ‘Putting Christ at the Centre.’ We could not ‘put’ him at the centre of the Church: Christ is the heart of the Church and it is he who draws us to himself. Nor do we ‘put’ him at the centre of the world: he already walks the paths of humanity and is present above all in the poor and the broken. Instead, whether in our life together in the Church or in our mission to the world, what we are called to do is to turn to Christ, to recognise his presence and to respond to his invitation to walk with him. With Christ at the centre we can then reflect on what kind of Church God is calling us to be. (Pastoral Plan p.6)
The starting point for our engagement with other people is the conviction that Christ’s birth, life and death has affected and changed the whole of humanity. The Second Vatican Council taught that, ‘By his incarnation the Son of God has united himself in some fashion with every person. He worked with human hands, he thought with a human mind, acted by human choice and loved with a human heart. Born of the Virgin Mary, he has truly been made one of us, like us in all things except sin.’ The fact that ‘the Word became flesh and dwelt among us’ has established a solidarity between Christ and all of humanity.
There is nobody in this world who is not in some way united with Christ, whether they realise it or not. Christ walks alongside every person through the events of their life. He longs for them to recognise him just as the disciples on the road to Emmaus recognised him at the breaking of bread. He desires to open their eyes and hearts to the full realisation of their dignity and value in God’s eyes. He wants them to have the fulness of life for which God made them. This is what St John Paul meant when he wrote of ‘the power of the truth about man and the world.’ Here, again, he was looking back to Vatican II, which made the extraordinary statement that ‘the truth is, that only in the mystery of the incarnate Word does the mystery of man take on light.’ Our lives with all their ups and downs, the frequently chaotic lives of our families and loved ones, the joyful and frightening things that happen across the human family, only make sense if we look at them through the eyes of Christ and understand them in terms of God’s plan for humanity and the entire Cosmos.
Consequently, God calls us to a radical openness, especially towards those whom the world quickly rejects.
As Pope Francis has written,
‘Appearances notwithstanding, every person is immensely holy and deserves our love.’
(Pastoral Plan p.7)
Please keep checking this section of our website for more news, documents you can access on line, and opportunities to explore the plan in more detail, via Zoom meetings.