Looking to the Future
Do you remember watching the 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz? One of the early scenes in the film which has always stuck in my mind was when Dorothy, running away from home to protect her dog Toto from Miss Gulch –aka the Wicked Witch –happens upon Professor Marvel, a charlatan fortune-teller. Professor Marvel –aka the Wizard –says, “I never do anything without consulting my crystal first.”
Sometimes it would seem helpful if we had a crystal ball to ‘consult’ about the future –especially when it comes to the future of the parish –but such pagan ways are far from necessary. In Matthew’s Gospel (16:2-3), Jesus, replying to the Pharisees and Sadducees who asked him for a sign to legitimise his authority, says, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?”
We indeed have the capacity to discern the signs of the times by looking around us and noticing what’s going on through the lens of the Gospel, which is the lens of what kind of people, family, parish and community that God wants us to be. One of the current signs of the timesis the need to discern what our parish will look like in the near future, particularly in the context of the new city of Aura in Caloundra South.
We are facing growth in our parish at a rate that’s never been seen. This growth, happening as we speak in the corridors of Aura and Palmview, and in the future at Beerwah East, is going to not only force change in the way we celebrate the Sacraments but also in the ways we approach evangelisation as the service of the mission of the Church.
These are some facts before us: within ten years, there will be 20,000 new homes housing 50,000 people in Aura. When we consider that number from a statistical perspective, 20% (10,000) of these new Sunshine Coast residents will be Catholic. Further, the Harmony development at Palmview, also within our parish boundary, will soon have 4800 new homes housing 17,000 people. There is a P-12 Catholic school opening in Aura in 2024 while Brisbane Catholic Education has also purchased 10 hectares of land at Palmview to be opened in the second half of the 2020’s.
From a missional perspective, we are already developing and building new relationships with existing Catholic residents in Aura. The next phase of the mission is to obtain the lease on a building in Aura from which to operate as a Mass and meeting centre and to promote the new school. In essence, we need to be intentional about planting a Catholic community in Aura so that, when the school does open in 2024, we have the platform of an existing missionary-disciple culture from which to welcome and engage school families.
So what now? Most importantly, and in the short term, we will need to have some conversations within the parish about how to most effectively deploy our fixed, human and financial resources in order to meet the needs of the mission ahead of us. Also, if you or someone you know already live in Aura (Baringa/Nirimba), please contact me via email because I’d love to invite you/them into the existing group of residents. [email protected]