Christchurch parishes are in a season of change.
On Pentecost 2019 Bishop Paul Martin released a pastoral letter to the Diocese of Christchurch outlining the Our Faith, Our Future vision for the whole diocese.
That letter can be read here https://ourfaith.chchcatholic.nz/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Bishops-Pastoral-Letter-Pentecost-2019-WEB-2.pdf
On the first Sunday of Advent, 2019, Bishop Paul then released a pastoral letter to the Diocese of Christchurch announcing the final decision on the Our Faith, Our Future vision for the Catholic Diocese of Christchurch.
That letter can be read here https://ourfaith.chchcatholic.nz/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Pastoral-Letter-First-Sunday-of-Advent-2019.pdf
In December 2020, Bishop Paul also wrote about the three Diocesan priorities: Growing in Holiness, Strengthening our Faith, and Proclaiming the Good News.
The purpose of having these is to focus priorities and help prioritise efforts and energies.
Growing in Holiness
“If you and I are to reach our God given potential, then we are called to become holy,” he said.
Church communities need to help people to grow in holiness.
“If I don’t fall in love with Jesus Christ and desire to become holy, then I won’t have the conviction to tell anyone else about it either.”
Parishes, schools, and organisations need to be focused on growing in holiness.
Strengthening our Faith
Coming together as people of faith is an essential part of being a follower of Christ.
The Church is made up of many communities who meet together to praise God, receive his grace and strength, especially through the Sacraments, and care for one another.
Bishop Paul said we need strong faith communities if we are to survive and have a place to bring people who are searching. This is the second focus of the renewal.
Proclaiming the Good News
The call of Jesus is to spread his message to all people. This is part of the baptismal calling – the call to evangelisation.
“We need to look at how we do this and how we can help people become more confident in this mission,” he said.