WHAT do you get when you mix engaging speakers, heartfelt testimony, prayer and reflection, dynamic worship plus an opportunity to have faith questions heard?
The answer is coming to every deanery of Brisbane archdiocese before Easter and it will be led by Archbishop John Bathersby as a “first of its kind” initiative.
“The archbishop is keen to impart the ‘Jesus, Communion, Mission vision’ he has burning within him,” said Project Support Team member and deanery gathering organiser Mike Hymphrys.
“He’s visiting every deanery ‘to meet and greet’ and to enthuse others about this vision.
“The archbishop has said the ‘Jesus, Communion, Mission’ vision is ‘a powerful means of communicating the dynamism that lies at the heart of our faith with God’.”
“The hope is people will go away being apostles of the ‘Jesus Communion Mission’ vision.”
This “vision” was heralded some six years ago during the 2003 Archdiocesan Synod.
Gradually Archbishop Bathersby has released Pastoral Statements to support the vision, the first in 2005 called “Spirituality of Communion and Body of Christ” with the second, offered to parishes in 2006, titled “Towards a Spirituality of Mission”.
The final of the three beautifully illustrated and presented statements – simply titled “Jesus” will be available at these deanery gatherings.
Participants will take home not only with a copy of all three documents and also material to facilitate further discussion, reflection and prayer.
The take-home pack will further include, at no cost, a specially-compiled DVD based on ‘Jesus, Communion, Mission’, featuring the archbishop and 13 other locals.
Filled with scripture and offering further personal insights and testimony, the DVD includes Jesuit Father Chris Gleeson, World Youth Day attendees Nat Hutton and Victoria Laurenzi and parishioners Joe Kelly and Anne Frawley-Mangan.
“We realise this shouldn’t be an isolated event,” Mr Humphrys said.
“We hope people will go away and look at the material … within their families, in small groups … they can follow a six session program or they can look at it at their own pace.”
The material has been designed even for small groups such as pastoral councils and school staff to facilitate their own formation in the course of their regular meetings.
Mr Humphrys said the deanery gatherings are also a valuable tool of evangelisation.
“We hope people who have been distanced from the Church might be invited by family and friends to these gatherings, come and feel welcome,” he said.
As part of the gathering, Archbishop Bathersby will enter into a “question and answer” session, sure to stir much interest.
Local musicians have been enlisted to lead worship and prayer times with the model of the gatherings based on that experienced at catechesis sessions during World Youth Day week in Sydney last year.
The deanery gatherings are open to all ages and begin in the North East of Brisbane on February 5, first hosted by Clayfield parish.
Parish priest Fr Adrian Farrelly is keen for all 10 parishes of the deanery to be represented on February 5 and warmly invites newcomers.
All deanery gatherings, with the exception of the afternoon session in South Country (to be held in North Ipswich) on February 14, will commence the “meet and greet” time at 7pm with a cup of tea or coffee.
The official program starts at 7.30pm and will run until approximately 9.15pm.
Central deanery will host the opportunity on February 16 (held at the Francis Rush Centre), North Country on February 18 (Gympie), North Coast on February 19 (Sippy Downs) and Redland/Bayside on February 23 (Alexandra Hills).
Brisbane West will be on February 24 (Corinda), Northern Rivers on February 26 (Burpengary), North West on March 12 (Kedron), Logan on March 17 (Woodridge), Brisbane East on March 19 (Camp Hill), Brisbane South on March 24 (Annerley) and South Coast on March 26 (Burleigh Waters).
For more information go to the website at: www.bne.catholic.net.au/vision or contact the Jesus Communion Mission Support Team on (07) 3336 9340.