Sunday, 28 May 2017

Parish Statement from Parish Future Meeting


Who we are and what we value
We acknowledge the Cadigal people of the Eora nation as the traditional custodians of the land on which St Joseph’s stands. St Joseph’s aims to provide a safe place for all people to pray regardless of age, race, creed, gender, cultural background or sexual orientation.

We are a welcoming and inclusive faith community bringing our diverse life experiences, gifts and talents. We celebrate and value our diversity.
We are united in a strong faith committed to gospel values of love, hope, peace, justice and compassion.
 We are open, accepting and non-judgemental. Our faith community participate in ways of meaning to each of us. We do not demand conformity in how we participate.
 We celebrate liturgy with simplicity, grounded in our real world around us and utilising the diverse talents of our faith community.
 We value unity through difference and actively reach out to those marginalised in our Church.
 We offer hope, healing and reconciliation.
 We reach out to support and strengthen our community through interfaith, advocacy and making our facilities and resources available for wider community use.
 We are proud to provide a safe space and home through our ministry with LGBTI Catholics.
 We are actively committed to social justice in our community, our nation and our world.
 We value gathering together for conversations, discussion and social events. 

Faith “For we walk by faith and not by sight.”
A true “Catholic” parish
An inclusive, reality centred liturgy calling us to live the gospel in our lives
Respecting each other’s gifts
Active participation in liturgy through readers, special ministers and music
Supporting and encouraging the gospel in action through advocacy, social justice and ministry to the marginalised
Ecumenical, through shared Advent and Lent programs and special services

Love “Let all that you do be done in love.”
Inclusiveness and acceptance, all are created in the image of God and are our neighbour
Warmly welcoming all who wish to journey in faith, no matter what stage they are at
Special ministries to those who have been or feel excluded

Hope “In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection.”
Authentic engagement with each other, valuing relationship, reconciliation and healing
Seeking to live the gospel message of hope through our liturgies and our inclusiveness, welcome and acceptance
Belief in the power of advocacy and social movements to achieve change
A positive “optimism”

Justice And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Active outreach to the marginalised in our church and in our community
Commitment to reconciliation with our Indigenous citizens
Practical support for asylum seekers and refugees
Ministry with LGBTI Catholics
Faithworks program
St Vincent de Paul
Making our parish facilities and resources available to groups working with and supporting people in need
Partnering with and building coalitions with others
Genuinely valuing diversity

Compassion “Love one another as I have loved you
Accepting people as they are
Acting in love and with empathy to affirm and care for others
Accompaniment, walking with, listening and sharing with others
Hospitality and welcome
Looking out for each other
Sharing ourselves and our parish resources with others

Our faith community “tree” has deep roots of faith, many strong branches of diversity and shade and shelter for all who seek to journey with us.
Developed with the Parish community May 2017
Download the document here

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.