Pope Francis has called for the Church to walk alongside one another, to be a community that listens and moves forward together. This pathway prioritises relationships and asks the Church to accompany one another in the realities of life and mission. Pope Francis calls for us all to “Take on the smell of the sheep”.
During the process of Vatican II, we were called as Church to “read the signs of the times in the light of the Gospel” and respond. Some of the most significant signs of the times for us include: our emergence from the pandemic; the return of war to mainland Europe; the continued ‘cost of living’ crisis; and the recent issues and events within the Diocese. Currently the people of the Diocese have specific needs in reading these signs of the times, reacting to them, and co-creating the way ahead.
At a difficult time for the Diocese, it is important to give space for voices to express the pain people may be feeling and to re-emphasise to all, the common priesthood of the baptised. There are four initial meetings offered to the lay people of the Diocese:
- Monday 10 July: St Mary’s RC Church hall, Forest Hall, Newcastle NE12 7AB.
- Tuesday 11 July: St Bede’s RC Church hall, Bedlington NE22 5TZ.*
- Wednesday 12 July: St Michael’s RC Church hall, Houghton-Le-Spring DH5 8NF.
- Thursday 13 July: English Martyrs and Ss Peter & Paul’s, Stockton-on-Tees TS19 9BY.
Meetings start at 7.00pm prompt. No booking required.
(* Additional parking available at St Bede’s school.)
These meetings will give space to hear how people are in light of the recent events in the Diocese. A second set of meetings will take place in the Autumn looking at the culture and future we want to co-create in order for it to have a safe, healthy, sustainable Diocese, that has clarity and a unified vision.
Amy Cameron, Co-ordinator for the Vicariate for Faith & Mission.