Thursday, 20 April 2017

Parish Future - Forum

Saturday May 13, 3 - 5pm
With changes in parish life, administration and pastoral care on the horizon, St Joseph’s, Newtown Parish Team invites you to join us at a parish forum. We will develop a statement on what we in Newtown value about our parish and faith community and what we want to see continue, whatever the changes ahead.
This forum will be a facilitated discussion to canvass views and vision for the future of the parish. These ideas will then form an expression of parishioners' hopes for the future.
Please join us for the discussion

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Adventures in the "Axis of Evil"

Journalists Lisa Upton and Greg Bearup have recently returned from living in India where Greg was The Australian newspaper’s South Asia Bureau Chief and Lisa was SBS’s India correspondent.  Lisa and Greg have also lived in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Syria working as journalists as well as in the humanitarian field.  In 2005, they met Ramazan Kawish.
Ramazan and Greg worked for the United Nations during Afghanistan’s first parliamentary elections.  Afterwards, the Taliban targeted Ramazan because of his work with an international organisation; he feared for his life and fled his homeland. For years he lived as a refugee in Pakistan and India before making his way to Indonesia.  From there, he risked his life by paying a people smuggler and taking a boat bound for Australia.  Ramazan arrived on Christmas Island during Julia Gillard’s prime ministership and his claim for asylum was successful.  He now lives in Sydney with his wife and child.
Lisa, Greg and Ramazan will share some of their stories from South Asia particularly about the plight of refugees. 
at St Joseph’s Catholic Church Newtown
Cnr of Bedford and Station Sts, Newtown
Sunday April 30  2017
Time: 3 - 5 pm

Thursday, 4 August 2016

An apology to LGBTIQ People

Recently the Pope said 'I believe that the Church ... should apologise
to the person who is gay.' We invite you to a community prayer
where we can recognise the failure of the church, God's people,
to keep LGBTIQ people safe from discrimination and hurt.

 On August 12, we celebrated a Liturgy of Lament and Apology.
(L-R) Justin Koonin, ACON President, Chris Pycroft, co-convenor NSW GLRL, Chris Pycroft,
Co-Convenor, Natalie Cooper, PFLAG Secretary Organization and Father Peter Maher.

 If you wish to download the liturgy we used, click here

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Sesquicentennary of the Laying of the Foundation Stone of St Joseph's Church

Sesquicentennary Report
at St Joseph's Church (cnr Bedford and Station Sts), Newtown
to mark the 150th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone of the church.
The Mass was a wonderful celebration of the many ways the church is used to support the local community and the Indonesian Catholic Community.

Below are pictures of the Mass, the plaque and the cake supplied by the Catholic Indonesian Community.

SESQUICENTENARY DINNER was held on Wednesday, 13 April, 2016. It was a wonderful occasion to celebrate the way the church building and basement has supported the faith community for 150 years.  
Sr Clare Condon sgs spoke about the historical and educational role of the building in the community. See full speech here
Fr Peter spoke about the current uses of the building to support a Post Vatican II vision of church embodied in the Newtown parish endeavouring to reach out with gospel values. See full speech here

Saturday, 5 January 2013

2012 Parish Survey Report

In Nov 2012 a survey to help develop the FaithWorks@Newtown 2013 program is summerised below.    

The demographics of the survey respondents were predictable in that most were over 50 years of age, live close by although not in the parish boundaries (although nearly half indicated they lived outside the inner west) and were living in diverse circumstances (only half indicating they live with a partner).  One issue this raises is difficulty with time and place for events as many need to travel to attend something at Newtown.

People liked Newtown parish because it is inclusive (Aboriginal recognition, LGBTI); non-judgemental; open; thought provoking; relevant (preaching; spirituality and liturgy); welcoming; easy going; diverse; embodies Vat II ideals and its catholicity.  Some aspects of parish life appreciated were the music; cuppa; discussion group; intelligent preaching; no spiritually abusive prayers from the altar; outreach (Barkat, Cana Communities, Marrickville Multifaith, Rachel’s Vineyard, Stafford House, NA, AA and SVdeP) and the beautiful building.  The social justice emphasis in liturgy and action and that everyone is welcome at Parish Team Meetings was also appreciated. 

It was noted that there could be more welcoming at beginning of Mass (maybe an opportunity to meet people) and that the parish, being a small group, can be cliquey and Sunday cuppa after Mass is interrupted by Indonesians.

Interestingly the most attended functions were the Christmas and Easter parties, although forums (SIP) and the Reconciliation liturgies were high on the list.  As we have few programs for spiritual development this may account for this missing in a question about what people attend now. However there was strong support for faith discussion and development with the proviso that time and distance are real issues for many.  Having said that, there a strong showing for events at the church on weekdays and nights and Sundays with a good number indicating they would like a meal with the speaker/discussion/event.

Other suggestions for the future were talks (Catholicism for beginners; Spirituality; pastoral care; Tricky questions - homophobia, abortion, sex outside of marriage, divorce etc; Vatican II; reaching out to unchurched Catholics; liturgy training and ministerial courses; response to the Royal commission; saints (heroes); Mary; prayer and morality ); Christian meditation; reaching out to the community; using broader educational institutes – (eg Broken Bay Institute); Aboriginal speakers; social events (eg. film night); working bee; golf day; Ignation spirituality and Catholic social teaching.

Other comments included developing community; sustainability of parish functions (church maintenance; counting; welcoming; visitation of sick; how to mobilise wider base group for jobs?; name tags at Mass; extending cuppa to Christmas day and Easter Sunday Mass and further support for Acceptance.  There was one comment about the perceived elitism of the Parish Team – this would seem strange to the Team because every parishioner is encouraged to come to every Parish Team Meeting and get involved. 

A comment about the Parish Team Meeting - it began as a small selected group to prepare for Bishop Cremin’s visit about 10 years ago.  The group decided to open the meeting up to all parishioners to assist in supporting and shaping the parish development.  So even though it may seem to be a closed group at times, there is no reason not to be involved and contribute.  However we need more than your ideas; we need the necessary support to make the ideas happen.