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Pentecost Sunday Gospel Reflection by Fr Josh May 26, 2023

Pentecost Sunday
OLR Strategic Plan Launch. Feast of Pentecost.
OLR Strategic Plan Launch. Feast of Pentecost.

Our Birth-Day of the Next Five Years (2023-2027)

Friends, our celebration of Pentecost (meaning the fiftieth day) is the birthday of the Church because it’s the Holy Spirit who animates/gives life to Jesus’ mystical Body – the Church. When the Risen Jesus breathed on the disciples saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (Jn 20:22), he gave them the power, potential and ability to be the Church and accompany others to Encounter, and therefore, be in relationship, with Jesus. Gratefully, we share in receiving that same power, potential and ability through baptism and reception of the Holy Spirit. The only difference is that these gifts are usually only realised and activated in us when we experience being filled with the Holy Spirit through the gift of Encounter – one leads to the other.

Over the last six months I’ve begun to receive stories of different parishioners’ Encounter experiences. This last week in fact, I was listening to a parishioner describe her experience in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament; she described a burning sensation in the palms of her hands, tears, and a wobbling on her feet as she experienced being immersed/filled with the Holy Spirit. Again, recently, a gentleman described to me an aura he’d seen around the presider at Mass, his heart being filled, and not wanting to leave that moment. His own words were, “I’ve waited 72 years for this.” What a joy it is to know that the power, potential and ability of life-long Catholics is being activated through the experience of being filled with the Holy Spirit!

This Pentecost, we celebrate the launch of our five-year Strategic Plan. The journey to this moment took nine months, and the contribution of many minds and sets of hands – something to be celebrated – but today represents the birth-day of the next five years in the life of Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Parish. Birth-day is an accurate description of this day because while we have eight unique faith communities in the parish, the Strategic Plan draws us together under one Mission: to be a vibrant community that actively accompanies people to encounter Jesus (cf. Mt 28:19 – last weekend’s Gospel). This is our reason for existence (as a Church and parish), and this is what the Strategic Plan is geared toward.

At the 9.30am Mass on Sunday, the six Ministry Leadership Teams (MLTs) will be commissioned. Perhaps the most important aspect of the Strategic Plan is the creation of different layers of lay leadership in our parish. Each team – Children & Families, Worship, Faith & Formation, Youth & Young Adults, Community Life, and Service and Outreach – are made up of a leader and several team members. These parishioners, chosen for their skills, gifts and talents, are being commissioned and empowered to make decisions in each of these areas precisely because they possess the skills, gifts and talents to lead. As well as the six MLTs, my own Senior Leadership Team (SLT), will be introduced on Sunday. For the past 10 months I’ve been making both day-to-day and key strategic decisions with the assistance of four faithful women – Jacinta Elks, Felicity Jones, Vivienne Cooper and Lin Johnstone.

At each Vigil/Sunday Mass this weekend, there will be a number of copies of the printed Strategic Plan available. You can also download an electronic copy of the Strategic Plan from the homepage of our website. from I ask that you take one home to read, become familiar with its contents, and then return it to your place of worship for others to read and digest. A key component of launching and working from the five-year plan will be as many people as possible becoming familiar with the different Outcomes and Strategies in each ministry area. This is important so that when new ideas and initiatives are introduced that help facilitate our Mission, we are ready and open with a flexibility to initiatives that may otherwise challenge our sense of comfort. May God bless our intentional approach and efforts to be a vibrant community that actively accompanies people to encounter Jesus.

Peace and Blessings,

 Fr Josh


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