Delegate Send-off Gathering
“We will begin a spiritual experience of journeying together to renew and deepen our own commitment to our faith, and to redefine our evangelical mission in society today in order to serve it with humility” Bishop Brendan Leahy
Saturday 31st January:
A gathering of all delegates took place on Saturday 31st January in The Limerick Radisson Hotel. Running from 10a.m. to 5p.m. the training was facilitated by Christopher Schoch, who is based in Clermont-Ferrand, France. A French-American, he provides consulting services to organizations in the public and private sectors. Chris has designed and facilitated collaborative projects at different levels of Evry diocese including: revitalizing parish ministries, developing better collaboration, collaboratively planning a 5 year strategic plan, and launching interfaith dialogue.
The day began with a wonderful prayer service on the theme of discernment in the life of Don Bosco, the founder of the Salesians and the patron of young people. The prayer was led by various members of the Salesian family in Limerick - Fr Lucasz Navrat, Sr. Sarah O’Rourke, Fr John Campion and Paddy O’Neill (Principal of Copsewood Salesian College, Pallaskenry). Morning prayer content available here
The Synod Director, Fr Éamonn Fitzgibbon gave a brief input in which he teased out further the role of the delegate, in particular the difference between being a ‘representative’ and ‘speaking from the perspective of’. He also outlined that this phase is really about discovering where the Kingdom og God is breaking in on our world or where the Spirit is active – essentially what God is doing in Limerick at this time. Read his full text here.
Bishop Brendan spoke next and welcomed and thanked all those present. He spoke about discernment and what Christian discernment implies for us today.
Christopher Schoch introduced the concept of ‘hunter-gatherer’ as an image for delegates and also presented us with emergent strategy or ‘fruitful-emergence’ as a way of bringing us forward.
He led the delegates in carrying out the first task of the day which provided an opportunity for delegates to share with each other a symbol they had brought along for the day and also to list his or her hopes and fears concerning the role of delegate.
After lunch Christopher presented on ‘The Dynamics of Renewal’ using Claes Janssen’s theory of the Four Room Apartment. Delegates were then invited to view their parishes or communities as living human systems – or eco-systems – and then identify strategies of discernment for people at different stages of renewal within that system.
The third and final delegate task enabled delegates to become more aware of the relationship between how we view others and how they see us, opening ourselves to seeing how the Holy Spirit is at work in the world at large. Delegates identified signs that the Holy Spirit is at work in the world at large and named ways in which we as delegates, could engage with the pockets of hope and opportunity identified.