Monday, 27 June 2011

Caribbean Catholics Join the Conversation

The following article appeared in the Catholic News for the Archdiocese of Port of spain for the weekend of June 26th 2011. It is self explanatory. A great idea, and a wonderful use of technology. Kudos people.

As our Church celebrates the feast of Corpus Christi, the Archdiocese launches a nationwide conversation to define Catholic culture and identity and strengthen bonds among units within the Church.

This initiative is a result of one of the resolutions of the third sitting of the Archdiocesan Synod held at the Centre of Excellence, Macoya, January 2009. Synod 2009 proclaimed a Mission of the Church with three Pastoral Priorities. The Mission, to build the Civilisation of Love, is the reason for the Church's existence. The first Pastoral Priority of The New Evangelisation was embedded at every level of the Archdiocese, the Archdiocese as a whole reflected upon the theme Catholic Family Become What You Are. The second Pastoral Priority – Catholic Culture and Identity: My Church, My Parish, My Family – came into focus June 1.

In the first part of this second Pastoral Priority the process focusses on the experience of Catholics: How do we see ourselves? What forms our identity as Catholics? What is specific to Catholic culture?

The conversation will be carried out among families, all parishes, all groups in the Church and will also further engage groups along lines of age to generate specific information from each group.

The results of the conversation will serve as a guide to a full survey among Catholics who attend Mass and are active in the Church and also those who do not attend Mass. The Synod Implementation Team (SIT) has suggested five questions to form the basis of the conversation and has also issued guidelines for recording the information. SIT expressed the hope that Corpus Christi - this special feast in the Church calendar will motivate Catholics to engage in discussion for revitalising Catholic Culture and identity.

The questions

The five suggested questions to assist in this Conversation are:

What things or practices do you most associate with being Catholic?

What beliefs do you most associate with being Catholic?

What real life behaviours should we most associate with being Catholic? How does this differ from reality?

How do your practices, beliefs differ from those of other age groups?

What in your list is specific to Catholics in Trinidad and Tobago?

The recommended age groups are 65 and over, 46 to 64, 31 to 45 and those under 30 years.

The conversation is to be held in families, regular Church groups such as choir, Legion of Mary, catechetics, in offices or wherever groups of Catholics meet.

SIT has also suggested a procedure for conducting the conversation to ensure effective feedback

There should be a scribe who takes notes of the various things that will emerge

Make sure the notes identifies the answers with the specific question

At the end of question (2) look at the age composition of the group. If there is a mix as in a family, ministry or office let each age group say how they see the similarities and differences of the other groups.

The scribe should clearly state te age group tat is giving the opinion and also the group about whom it is speaking. If it is all the same age group (as in a parish conversation after mass) then speculate on the difference and similarities of the other three age groups as you see it.

SIT is asking every parish and worshipping community to invite people to stay back for 20 minutes after Mass on one weekend, break them up into groups of eight for the conduct and recording of the conversation If it is logistically possible, groups should be of the same age group, but if this is difficult, they should remain intergenerational.

The Implementation Team is asking for the notes accompanied by parish information and data on the number of participants to be sent by August 2, 2011, by email to:

Catholic Culture and identity

Archbishop’s House

27 Maraval Road,

Port of Spain,


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