Thursday 1st February 2024

On Saturday 27th January,  thirty people from the deanery of St John Fisher met to share on the future of our deanery in the Gift at St Clare.

It was a chance for all assembled there to share together in a spirit of brotherhood/ sisterhood  on their hopes and fears for the future.

The conversation was very diverse with many different perceptions shared.

Below we can get a flavour of what came back from the three buzz groups.

Variety was certainly on the menu.

Notes from the Reflection Groups

  1. Invitation: how do we invite people?  How to help people feel comfortable in our communities – especially families, young people and 15-19s
  2. Preserve what’s good and build on it
  3. Collaboration and Sharing: we should do more to share expertise, resources, and best practices.
    1. What can we do collaboratively – eg retreats, youth Mass etc?  Important to develop a spirit of togetherness.
    2. What structures do we need to make this happen?
  4. Formation:
    1. Encourage a sense of holiness/wholesomeness
    2. How can young people relate faith to their lives?  Are we preparing future leaders?
  5. Communication:
    1. Acknowledge and affirm the good that is happening
    2. Response to opportunities and matters arising
    3. Widen participation
  6. Become more outward-looking: teach ways of sharing faith
  7. Belonging: improve our community life and sense of belonging, particularly through listening

The Group spent some time thinking about a next step to take the listening beyond this group:

  1. Communication –
    1. having a digital presence/WhatsApp
    2. Need to communicate today’s meeting well
    3. Something in newsletters/websites
    4. How do we reach people who might feel threatened or worried (eg irregular Mass-goers)
    5. Recognise that communication can divide – we need a range of approaches to reach everyone
  2. Parish listening groups
  3. Find out what’s working – do we have data?  What experiences/resources etc are best practice?
  4. Involve existing groups and communities, eg
    1. Forum/activities at St Michael’s School
    2. Parents’ prayer group at St Edward’s School
    3. Legion of Mary visiting the new housing estates
    4. Raise profile of Catholic schools locally
    5. How do we share expertise between parishes?
  5. Ideas for new activities include
    1. Listening to young families about what would help them
    2. Young people visiting care homes
    3. Deanery youth awards
    4. Canon John P Beirne
    5. 1st February 2024