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The Process

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Young People's 'Vision': Summary (pdf)

Young People's 'Vision': Questions (pdf)

 

PART I

TOWARDS A VISION FOR THE DIOCESE


Introduction

i.

This Paper is a step in a process. It follows on other meetings, not least the gatherings of priests and the diocesan Eucharistic Day. We live in times of change which present new opportunities and new difficulties. The most obvious challenge is that in the next few years we will have fewer priests and so it will be difficult to sustain the level and nature of pastoral provision that we have had over the last 50 or 60 years. It is a situation we must address and dioceses in the country are approaching it in different ways. This is because situations vary so much from one part of the country to another. In some cities in the North of England, the English, Irish and Scots who were the backbone of the inter-city parishes are no longer there and big decisions have to be made about closures and amalgamations. Here it is somewhat different. Our parishes in South London are vibrant multicultural communities, but providing sufficient priests is increasingly difficult. In Kent we are also feeling the shortage, especially, for example, in the maintenance of Mass centres. This stage in the process is an invitation to everyone in the diocese to reflect on how we can use, share and develop our resources in a changed situation. But I want it to be a positive and creative process. We must not allow our view of the Church to be shaped by the gloomy picture that the media sometimes portray. It is false and fails to recognise that every age in the Church has its blessings and its challenges.

   
ii.

This paper proposes elements of a vision for the diocese. That is followed by proposals for a process of reflection throughout the diocese. Finally, there are some facts and figures for us to keep in mind. I suggest that we need to discern at local level, probably in the deaneries, the kinds of collaboration and coordination that makes best use of our resources while also building up the life and mission of the Church. Decisions of various kinds will have to be made as time goes on but this process can give an opportunity for people to make their contribution and reflect together. Most importantly, this process involves putting our situation before God in prayer and asking for His wisdom and blessing.

   
iii.

A vision for the future of the diocese needs both depth and breadth. It also needs to be rooted in the history and culture of the diocese and the present

   

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