The first meeting of the Association of the Holy Family in 2019 had a very different dynamic than usual. Instead of a presentation given by an invited speaker, all present were invited to participate in the Listening and Dialogue facilitated by Sr Grace Roclawska. After an outline of the process of the day, over twenty associates and a few sisters were invited to divide into two groups and choose the leader who would oversee the timing of the proceedings, making sure that everyone had a chance to share and be heard. The associates and sisters shortlisted the topics raised by everyone and discussed one of their choice with the whole group. Many stories and examples were shared, and the participants verbalized the frustration of the time constraints, feeling that much more should be shared and discussed. The last part of the morning included revealing the findings of each group to all present. Surprisingly, it appeared that both groups talked about similar topics. The focus on renewal of family life seemed to be the strongest voice heard. Addressing the need for a more relevant Church for our youth and those disconnected with their faith, was also an expressed concern of many.
The morning finished with the Eucharist led by Fr Vincy D’Costa, Parish Priest of nearby The Good Shepherd Parish, Plumpton. Fr Vincy very skillfully summarized the feelings of the day and connected them with the Gospel of the Day. As we celebrated the Day of Consecrated Life, we prayed for the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, Capuchin Friars and all those living consecrated life and those discerning this vocation.
Followed the Mass, all enjoyed the lunch prepared by the members of the association. While enjoying the food and company, we were able to listen to the stories shared in pictures and words by Sr Christine Ramada and Sr Paula Volchek who recently participated in World Youth Day in Panama.
Many casual conversations over the meal expressed the need to continue the spirit of Listening Dialogue not only as a preparation for Plenary Council 2020 but beyond this process, creating the culture in which everyone’s opinion matters. And this is a true culture change.
By Sr Grace Roclawska csfn