Pillars of Pastoral Renewal

Pillars of Pastoral Renewal

"They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers" (Acts 2:42). This description of the activities of the first Christians has served as the basis for describing the key tasks to be carried out by the Christian Community. Here we explore six pillars of pastoral renewal.

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Leadership

While Maria Harris speaks of leadership in the context of community building, Tom Sweetser and Peg Bishop give leadership its own place. They suggest the leadership of a parish includes the pastor, staff, pastoral council and coordinating groups, often called commissions, that oversee the essential aspects of the parish and give them direction and focus.

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Liturgy and Prayer

Thomas Groom states that the Christian community is always to fulfil the liturgical function of publicly worshiping God, of expressing its faith in Jesus, and of renewing its members by symbolic encounter through the Holy Spirit with the Risen Christ in their efforts for God's reign.

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Community Building

In Sharing Faith Thomas Groom emphasises the witnessing task of the Christian community. For its own members the parish is to be a community of solidarity that empowers them to live the way of Jesus. Then, for all people, it is to be a welcoming and believable community of prophetic witness to God's reign.

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Formation

The ministry of proclaiming the gospel has taken on various shapes down the centuries. Thomas Groom suggests that it includes any activity that involves evangelising, preaching and teaching. Proclaiming the gospel is a permanent aspect of the Church's ministry in the world.

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Service

The task of the ministry of service, according to Thomas Groome, is to promote human welfare and to tend to human needs.

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Administration

This is an area of ministry not mentioned by Groome and Harris but one that is given a lot of energy in conversations among parish priests. Can the task of administration be shared by others? A positive step in that direction in our diocese has been the appointment of a layperson to the role of diocesan administrator.

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