December 2013 - On the Patronal Feast of the Immaculate Conception, 7th December, Bishop Peter preached a homily in which he surveyed and celebrated the achievements of the Walking Humbly process initiated on the same feast six years previously. He also set out in uncompromising fashion the challenges facing the Diocese because of the reduced number of priests, warning that there would have to be some closures, and that for the sake of their health, priests should only say up to three Masses per weekend. To help us all cope with these changes, he said:
"From my visits to the Pastoral Areas, four points struck me. Firstly, we need structured training available for lay assistants in parishes and for lay people who can join chaplaincy teams in our prisons, hospitals and schools. Secondly, we need skills to ask for volunteers, to train them and, yes, manage them. Thirdly, both priests and people need a change of mindset about what we can and should expect of each other. Finally, we all know that some change is needed but we do not want it to affect us or our own community. If Mary had adopted that attitude rather than accepting God's will, she would not have given birth to Our Saviour! Like her, we need to be open to the Spirit leading us to a new horizon."
The full text of this important homily is available to view here, and to download from here.
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Facilitator Training - Towards a wider conversation
The ‘Walking Humbly’ process has been offering an opportunity for reflection and conversation from mid-2011 onwards, called ‘The Micah Conversation’ – something which will help groups in the parishes and pastoral areas to reflect prayerfully on their common life and the call to serve the wider community. In preparation for this, and with Bishop Peter’s desire for developing conversation within our communities, a special programme has been offered to train up to 30 people from across the diocese as ‘facilitators’ of small groups.
The transferable skills developed during this course will be of great use to those operating within all sorts of other situations - within both working and planning groups (such as ‘steering groups’, pastoral councils or schools) and other groups gathered for youth work, faith-sharing, RCIA, catechesis etc.
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Click here for the context and origin of the Walking Humbly process.
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Please direct all queries to Deacon Philip Pugh