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In our church, as individuals and a community we should welcome strangers and newcomers. Get a feel for being together with others. We can put barriers in our head which prevents us reaching out-that people will feel patronised, that they view things differently, that they are too difficult. A need to put ourselves in others shoes, to recognise that they can find themselves in quite different circumstances. Conversation is vital to community. Together we can accomplish so much more than by ourselves. 

The daily, morning Mass gives a real sense of togetherness and community. This is what we want from the whole parish. This synodal experience is also what we want everyone to experience. Awareness of our spiritual journey together is growing.

A sense that we don’t walk together – people are prepared to walk away for fickle reasons eg they don’t like the singing or attend only because of the Sunday obligation. A feeling that people just do what they want. There is a reluctance among many practising Catholics to take more part in their parish. What exactly does walking together mean and what does it hope to achieve? Do we simply leave behind those we deem not “true” Catholics? 

We must be as inclusive as possible in our parish life and find ways to reach out especially to young people. Are clubs and Masses for them the way forward? The obstacles to young people attending are great – mental health issues, peer pressure, social media. There is a generational change in people’s attitude to the Church. The SVDP is a good example of inclusion and reaching out as are the Mini-Vinnies in the primary school. 

There are perceived obstacles blocking certain people from attending: the divorced, the poor, the unemployed, gay people. Some even don’t come because they can’t afford to. How does the Church look from the outside: old, white, male-run, hetero-normative? 

Covid has made people wary of reaching out. Once the emergency has passed we need to make more effort to let people know they are not alone and to identify those who are not coming back. 


We need to slow down and give ourselves enough time to truly listen and pick up how people are feeling deep-down. Loneliness and poverty are barriers to being listened to. We might think some people are difficult to approach but we can be surprised by the welcome reaction. The parish is there for all of us in hard times. How can we best get this across to everyone especially if they feel the community is not very welcoming? 

We can develop the art of listening through prayer when we hear both God and ourselves. This creates the peace within us which enables us to listen. 

The voice of the world is very loud and can drown out the Church’s voice. The Church’s teaching should be explained more clearly and though this might mean some people don’t accept it, a stronger church will emerge. Fear that the Church’s message is being diluted and fear for the future of the Church. 

Refreshing to hear other people express their fears and hopes and to experience the presence of the Holy Spirit. Good, too, to listen and identify with the prayer experiences of others. 


Relaxed, comfortable, peace, quiet. Reassured at the presence of the Spirit. Hopeful. Experience the presence of Jesus – given an image. Confirmed. Feeling of being relieved at “getting prayer out”. Sense of yearning, awareness of something deeper, desire to be closer to the Lord. Self-knowledge – word from scripture focussed into a moment of self- knowledge. The Emmaus walk – disciples thought they knew and the Lord didn’t – in fact the reverse. Security in the sense of Jesus walking with us – we all walk together with Jesus. 


It is so encouraging to be given chance to share – to be asked about views. Good to meet others and discuss things. Reassurance that we’re not alone – sense of community. “We’re not mad” – individuals independently all identifying similar themes – initially afraid to speak out in case they were thought to be ‘mad’. Worried about the challenges ahead – how to reach young people. Sense of welcome in the group and from the parish – what about the ‘lapsed’? the marginalised – need to reach out to them. We need to represent the ‘voiceless’. How do we ‘tap into’ the “middle group”/young adults?