Practical Actions to Recommendations - Synod 2017

(click to download - pdf file)

Go, you are sent to...

  1. The peripheries of society.
  2. Develop a spirituality of service.
  3. Find leaders.
  4. Use your assets wisely.
  5. Deepen your bicultural relationship.
  6. As one Body of Christ.
  7. To your own peripheries.
  8. To care for creation.
  9. To fellow Christians.
  10. To accompany one another.
  11. To support marriage and families.
  12. To build community.
  13. To use technology and communicate effectively.

1. The peripheries of society

  1. Every parish and school has at least one service organisation, promoted and supported by the parish.
  2. The Feast of Corpus Christi becomes a day when people are challenged to identify who they are called to serve in their local community.
  3. Formation and assistance from Catholic charitable groups is provided for parishes to give them more support in going out.
  4. Visit a rest-home, make a meal for a family in need, people donated wool which was knitted into garments for people in need, regular foodbank collections – can we do more?
  5. Prisoners and prisoner re-integration - parish sponsorship and prayer, commit to practical actions and service (eg Arohata quilts, Seasons for Growth in prisons).
  6. How we can all help - promote the existing agencies, create tangible bite-size pieces of activities to fit into our lives, create volunteer job search, reach out to migrants and refugees including non-Christians, link people up.
  7. All actions must be faith-based, our faith, not of recipient – we help even if eg someone choses abortion.
  8. Point parishioners to outside organisations, not just parish activities.
  9. Create an advisory group including non-Catholic people to assist/advise Catholic entities eg CSS and Greenstone Doors and Rachel’s Vineyard, Marriage Encounter, to better deliver services.
  10. Have a six week series during which people who are working with those on the peripheries share their experience.
  11. All the groups in a parish get together on a regular basis to share what they do, identify gaps and overlap, create parish contacts and stimulate interest within the parish to minister to the needs of those on the peripheries of society as identified by the parish.
  12. Parishes identify and promote social justice activities which parishioners can be involved in.
  13. Have a Justice Ambassador/Peripheries Ambassador in the parish for motivation, monitoring and accountability.
  14. Actively promote events such as Social Justice Week in parishes, use as a time for a particular form of service to others.
  15. Build side by side mentoring groups to enable safe and accountable ministries.
  16. Share resources and develop networks of volunteers that can easily be tapped into to meet actual local need - go beyond parish boundaries.
  17. Share the joy in our actions to serve others and our work to develop fairness in our communities.
  18. Remain confident in who we are as a Church, retain our authenticity and set our priorities.
  19. Teach about service to others in church/school/family so all know what service looks like and how to serve; “going out” and connecting with others is an obligation for all members of the church community, not an option.
  20. Homilies and other ways of combatting selfishness and greed and “me first” society are needed.
  21. Encourage prayer lists for particular needs (not named persons) and offer regular needs list to elderly/those not able to go on active service for prayer.
  22. Hold open days in parishes.

2. Develop a spirituality of service

  1. Ask parishes what their understanding of spirituality of service is.
  2. Begin every board meeting/parish meeting with at least 10 minutes of prayer/reflection.
  3. Have Scripture based options such as Lectio Divina in parish groups.
  4. Promote Christian meditation in schools (primary and secondary) and among adults.
  5. Set up side by side mentoring for faith formation.
  6. Develop many and varied spiritual practices outside of Mass eg adoration, variety of prayer modes.
  7. Prioritise access to Eucharistic Adoration in the parishes.
  8. Have regular specified times for Reconciliation, not by appointment only.
  9. Unlock the doors of the church, have it open with people there for activities, cleaning or just to receive people, make churches accessible on a daily basis for private prayer.
  10. Provide more sacred spaces.
  11. Take the Church out to others by promoting programmes that will provide formation and scripture exposure and highlight other activities in parishes, to make our Church attractive to non-practising Catholics.
  12. Create an organization for parishes to subscribe to for resources.
  13. Employ an Archdiocesan music coordinator to help upgrade our music.
  14. Encourage music ministry in all forms, including music by young people.
  15. Archdiocese provide more support for liturgy, perhaps a Liturgy Office or Committee?
  16. Regular Archdiocesan meetings with liturgy people are helpful.
  17. Clear guidelines are needed on what we can or cannot do in liturgy.
  18. Retain tradition but make worship relevant and meaningful in relationship with Christ.
  19. Assist parishes to explore different expressions (vibrancy/uplifting) in Masses - set up an “inject Vitality Group” to explore music, visual, testimonies, suggestion box, live streaming of regional Masses.
  20. Archdiocesan youth leaders visit parishes regularly to lead Masses.
  21. Study the Papal Encyclicals in groups.
  22. Formation in spiritual development is critical in order to support service; unique to locality – one size does not fit all.
  23. Organize small group programmes which are relevant for Church seasons and for people’s lives.
  24. Collate spiritual growth opportunities already being used in parishes (or used in the past) and make available to everyone.
  25. Grow awareness and desire for faith formation and leadership (including parish-based activities) through testimonials, inspirational (TED-like) talks, mentoring programmes, hui, communication via digital repository.
  26. Every parish budgets for 10 or so people per year to study the Catholic faith eg 101 Introduction to Catholicism.
  27. Provide resources for formation eg books on spirituality and Christian literature.
  28. Establish a centre of spirituality (not necessarily physical location) that develops, provides and disseminates across the Archdiocese, including in parishes and pastoral areas, spiritual resources (including people) that are based on scripture. This would include formation, education and catechesis.
  29. Create a group in the parish whose role is to foster spiritual growth.
  30. Intentionally create opportunities for people including clergy, to share their life experiences, relating to the gospel of the day.
  31. Laity give homilies or testimonies sometimes.
  32. In the homily the priest (or someone else) could give some formation on a deeper understanding of the Mass.
  33. Provide opportunities (eg in worship other than Mass) to hear challenging reflections on the Gospel from lay people, or other denominations.
  34. Challenging sermons with practical actions, connecting to daily life, are needed.
  35. Priests bring spirituality of service into homilies – education and guidance are needed. Can priests support one another in doing this?
  36. Enhance the dismissal rite at the end of Mass to encourage everyone to go out to be missionaries.
  37. Make re-igniting and nurturing the energy for MISSION a strategic goal for the Archdiocese.
  38. Be called to Mission every time we gather.
  39. Have a Mission Expo.
  40. Have an Archdiocesan Hikoi to launch a Mission focus.
  41. Invite Pope Francis to celebrate an open-air Mass in Aotearoa New Zealand.

3. Find leaders - ( ... go to TOP of page )

  1. Implement a day in the Archdiocesan calendar to celebrate/recognise the activities that our people lead outside of church/parish ministry.
  2. Incorporate a commissioning for varied leaders at the end of Mass, beyond Ministers to the Sick.
  3. Institute a Leadership Sunday to affirm leaders and parishioners’ contributions within the parish, recognising present leaders and encouraging others to step forward.
  4. Share information about the placement of Lay Pastoral Leaders, their role in the parish and how they work in the different parish contexts.
  5. Take regular practical steps in the parish to encourage vocations and support the discernment process.
  6. Promote all forms of vocations to young people (they are attracted to media and visual methods).
  7. Pray often individually and collectively for vocations to the priesthood.
  8. Increase the resources available to promote vocations to the priesthood.
  9. Develop an understanding and capability of how to invite/ask people from across all the ethnic groups in the parish to take on leadership roles.
  10. Promote and encourage intentional Christian Communities like Berrigan House, as a way to raise new leaders in an environment based on the Gospel and the Works of Mercy.
  11. Provide more formation for leaders of sacramental programmes.
  12. Identify gaps in leadership eg when young people leave college, and target leadership programmes to these “missing groups”.
  13. All formal leadership roles are for a specific time.
  14. Have an annual parish expo/forum (a table for each Ministry and Gift).
  15. Make more use of “gifts and service” resources from Catholic Centre.
  16. Provide opportunities for stewardship workshops, in person or online.
  17. Define the needs and identify leadership roles needed within the parish.
  18. Regularly look at succession planning in parish ministries.
  19. Allow others to step up while those stepping aside have a mentoring role.
  20. Encourage a “shoulder tapping” approach to recruiting new leaders
  21. Task a person in each parish with getting new people involved in leadership.
  22. Create list of leaders and talents.
  23. Consider offering a “servant leader” course on an inter-parish/regional level.
  24. Archdiocese to provides resource for training leadership teams (as it does for school Boards of Trustees).
  25. Make support services for leaders available at parish level such as mentoring and spiritual direction (both in North and South Island).
  26. Make known to parishes that training is important and it doesn’t need to be a workshop, it can be reading relevant section of GIRM and/or Catholic Centre resources.
  27. Challenge parishes to sponsor people into basic TCI courses.
  28. Make Theology on Tap more widely available.
  29. Strengthen ministries by incorporating principles from the volunteering field.
  30. Gathering existing and aspiring leaders together in parishes on a regular basis for a mentoring programme - sharing of information and expectations.
  31. Share expectations for roles in the parish in the form of a clear guidance manual.
  32. Encourage people to take up both old and new forms of leadership, both are needed.
  33. All models of leadership include dynamic leadership as opposed to fixed or exclusive leadership.
  34. Make sure there is at least one young person in Parish Council.

4. Use your assets wisely

  1. Open church doors at all times!
  2. Churches could be more open places for other church activities eg Rosary, Adoration, youth groups.
  3. Review access to buildings with regard to mobility and disability eg wheelchair access inside the church and to the other facilities (toilets, kitchen).
  4. Create community hubs that are multi-purposed, meeting the needs of the community, including sharing buildings (church, halls, schools, presbyteries)
  5. Think of marae in looking at how buildings can serve the community - a community hub to reflect diversity.
  6. Create flexible space rather than fixed pews – enhances faith expression eg for liturgy, different numbers of participants.
  7. Create protocol – small sacred space for tabernacle so church building can be used for multiple purposes.
  8. Have buildings with many spaces which can be used for many different purposes.
  9. Use facilities for other purposes outside of mass eg playgroups, after-school activities, outreach (eg soup kitchen), drop in centre, café, counselling, leisure activities, crèche, events, social activities, debates, seminars, flexible library spaces.
  10. Consider options for introducing multi-functionality into spaces eg partitions.
  11. Family friendly and safe spaces and facilities for families with young children designed so they still feel that they belong.
  12. Provide facilities for child-care in our churches; eg breast feeding, nappy changing, children’s books.
  13. Ask parents with young children what works best for them.
  14. Consider new ways of housing priests – parishes and priests who have changed from traditional presbyteries to share their experience.
  15. Investigate repurposing and multi-purposing surplus/vacant and under-utilised assets.
  16. Co-operate with other entities in the community to share/utilise resources.
  17. Potential conversion of unoccupied building into social or community housing, drop in centres, other forms of help for the poor.
  18. Faith based use of assets eg feeding people, mum and bub groups.
  19. Community based use of assets eg morning tea, youth groups.
  20. Revenue based use of assets eg hall hire, after school care.
  21. Provide interest-free or low interest loans (from sold off assets) for those in need.
  22. Use the different skills within the parish community eg accountants, tradies, and have a skills register.
  23. Any parish that has a 10 year strategic plan share it.
  24. Build a database of building spaces that can be used by all.
  25. Use working groups and call for volunteers.
  26. Provide formation of finance committees in line with the principle that decisions re property and other assets are driven by the parish/archdiocesan/gospel call to mission.
  27. Use the Archdiocesan network for sharing of resources.

5. Deepen your bicultural relationship

  1. Have one Māori Mass once a month in each parish.
  2. Hold the next synod on a Marae.
  3. Parishes all have Māori version of their names, which are used.
  4. Enable Māori to help parishioners with Te Reo so that it is appreciated in the parish.
  5. Greater commitment to Māori Langauage Week eg by including Te Reo in parish newsletters, the Mass, hymns, parish website etc, to heighten our national commitment to inclusion and recognition of Treaty of Waitangi partnership. The Catholic Church could lead the way and eventually recognise it every week!

6. As one Body of Christ - ( ... go to TOP of page )

  1. Foster ways to get to know new members outside of Mass, help them integrate.
  2. Formation for parish leadership across all ethnicities and groups.
  3. Provide English translations of hymns, prayers etc alongside words in different languages.
  4. The Archdiocese provides guidance on the ways in which support of ethnic groups can be implemented – when language provides a barrier for one to one communication.
  5. Multicultural celebrations, all together not just single cultural celebrations - promote joint celebration of different communities.
  6. Communication of requirements to enable different groups to practice their traditions eg Filipino practice of visiting other churches for Stations of the Cross before noon on Good Friday requires access to churches.
  7. Have a comprehensive directory of chaplaincies on Archdiocesan website.

7. To your own peripheries

  1. Offer education and workshops to develop further understanding of Pope Francis’ teaching on pastoral care.
  2. Promote the work of the Marh2riage Tribunal.
  3. Have a renewal seminar to inform the development of a new mission statement.
  4. Explain what excluding actually means and who it affects.
  5. Continue with side by side mentoring.
  6. Have instructions which are sensitive and standard for those not going to communion.
  7. Address high costs of Catholic education which push those who can’t afford it to the peripheries of the Catholic community.
  8. Relieve the pressure schools put on families for donations/contributions/fees.
  9. Review the attendance dues for schools as they are too high.

8. To care for creation

  1. Establish a Vicariate for the Works of Mercy (rename and refocus the existing Catholic Social Services to include care for creation as it is now one of the works of mercy).
  2. Develop liturgical resources to celebrate the season of creation here in Aotearoa New Zealand.
  3. Ensure Church’s voice on environment is heard at local level – role of Commission for Justice Peace and Development?
  4. Celebrate St Francis of Assisi Day, including animals like the Anglican celebration, in collaboration with schools and other churches.
  5. Initiate or take part in community projects such as “Clean Beach Day”, community gardens.
  6. Be aware of where things come from/how they are made, and unintended consequences of what we do (effects on poor countries).
  7. Get involved with the “Transition Churches” (a network of Christian churches – including Catholic -in New Zealand who are working on local faith community responses to energy, climate, food and financial challenges).
  8. Parishes write mottos which promote care for creation eg C.R.E.W Care Respect Excellence Wisdom.
  9. Have bite-sized chunks and reflections on care for creation after communion and in newsletters.
  10. Council of Priests and Archdiocesan Pastoral Council study Laudato Si and work out practical implications for parishes and schools.
  11. Parishes look at waste reduction/elimination.
  12. Follow suggestions at
  13. Support Zero Carbon Act movement (

9. To fellow Christians - ( ... go to TOP of page )

  1. Create (or continue) shared youth groups of all people of faith in the neighbourhood.
  2. Take every opportunity to invite to/attend one another’s events, and share information.
  3. Have shared events on neutral territory – eg picnics BBQs.
  4. Provide words for prayers and songs for (at least) weddings and funerals.
  5. Representatives of all Christian faiths in an area have discussions to seek formal arrangements for cooperation – could be started by monthly meetings of the ministers of Christian denominations.
  6. Ways for interaction and partnership - shared liturgies and key events, Scripture studies and prayer groups, service ministries eg ministry to seafarers (works well as combined churches), food banks, lunches for elderly, social actions.

10. To accompany one another

  1. Remember that young people are part of the Mass and the community, they are not separate from it.
  2. Implement post-sacramental programmes to ensure engagement after receiving the sacraments.
  3. Have youth friendly mass times – discuss with young people what works for them.
  4. Establish a working group to review the opportunities to provide support given to Catholic students at tertiary institutions.
  5. Investigate/implement activities such as breakfast meetings, or day long retreats that supplement weekly mass attendance.
  6. Promote Family and Young Church Ministry more, promote to parents as well as youth.
  7. Have an Archdiocesan Mass (bi-annually) in a park or stadium to connect all parishes, people, communities, and to promote inter-diocesan groups and fellowship.
  8. Set up Apologetics Groups – training in how to respond to questions and how to defend one’s faith.
  9. Hold annual youth conferences to maximise messaging of success.
  10. National/diocesan youth synod - create a youth voice and be prepared to listen to a range of voices.
  11. Schedule youth focused liturgical activities/worship/celebrations as an introduction to Mass perhaps located at a secondary school.
  12. More paid youth group leaders.
  13. Have formation for young after sacramental programme, eg training for ministries, at present nothing till marriage.
  14. Provide ongoing Faith Formation for young adults eg like the Leadership Formation Programme.
  15. Encourage youth to attend XLT, Taize, Lifeteen, YAFA and other fellowship programmes.

11. To support marriage and families

  1. Have a dedicated liaison person between the parish and school to welcome and support families.
  2. The Archdiocese and schools to work together so that enrolment in schools is non-judgmental.
  3. Better promotion and availability of information about Natural Family Planning.
  4. Help non-Catholic partners to feel accepted in the Catholic community.
  5. Make the word “sacramental” encompass all the sacraments (including marriage and anointing of the sick) as term commonly only applied to children.
  6. Archdiocese encourages a local celebration of marriage and/or family life annually in the parishes eg
  7. World Marriage day every second Sunday of February and provides resources for this.

12. To build community - ( ... go to TOP of page )

  1. Archbishop recognises those who have been involved in combining parishes and the first phase of amalgamation, because it has not been an easy process for many people, but one which they have willingly undertaken to serve their community and the Archdiocese.
  2. A grieving process is needed for lost buildings, to free us to move on to a new future.
  3. Find ways to support those who are finding the changes resulting from parish amalgamation difficult.
  4. External facilitators would aid healing within community.
  5. Provide parish buses for amalgamated parish communities.
  6. Come together for fellowship with parish events, meals.
  7. Encourage small group meetings after Mass within parish to promote community and service.
  8. Find someone whose dedicated role is to be the connector between the various church groups.
  9. At the end of Mass, invite those forward who are doing things that week and give them a blessing and send them on their way eg Young Vinnies, mothers, fathers, Legion of Mary etc, different groups each week so people to see what is happening, and the people going out to do the work know they have the support of the community and the nourishment of the Eucharist.
  10. Provide opportunities for bringing interest groups (eg liturgy, music, formation, social activities) from throughout the Archdiocese together as one group – perhaps once a year, to stimulate and reinvigorate each other.
  11. People, people, people - being the face of Christ in our parishes, not just at the end of emails!
  12. Invite all faith-based groups/communities to come together to discuss ways of linking the generations.
  13. Revisit the role of the deanery.
  14. Work on a proactive personal, varied, inclusive approach to community to ensure connectedness across the Archdiocese.

13. To use technology and communicate effectively

  1. Revolutionise our communications including online presence and use of social media – possibly youth led?
  2. Create an organisational model to better collaborate – could be virtual.
  3. Get rid of “Silo” approach and go for “collective” outlook - bigger difference in outreach will be created through this momentum.
  4. Let people know what’s happening and what’s available, making things visible via newsletters, social media, websites.
  5. Create a contact point for those wishing to speak with us, or who are looking for information or help.
  6. Be more proactive in publicising services available for those in need.
  7. Collaboratively develop a centralised resource bank:
  • for music and other liturgical requirements (including children’s liturgy, Prayers of the Faithful, proclaiming the word);
  • to share people, jobs, stuff across the Archdiocese, systemised community networking to meet real time, actual needs, going beyond parish boundaries;
  • of gifts, services, skills and talents people can offer – people are our gifts (activate locals for building projects);
  • to keep track of pastoral formation gaps, getting to know people;
  • for training/formation as well as material resources;
  • to connect like-minded people and identify the special skills present in the parish;
  • to provide information about organizations.
  1. Create a mentoring network using a database of leaders and information about needs of various groups/parishes.
  2. Clear communication of the services, resources and personnel available to parishes across the Archdiocese inventory.
  3. Increase technology-based communication and simultaneously undertake a more personalised approach to connecting with people – 1:1 invitations, shoulder tapping etc.
  4. Develop an interactive “app” that can be used to explain the Mass procedures and symbols.
  5. Utilise IT and social media to provide access to the scriptures, ideas for liturgical activities, formation and education, online “in-touch” services for interfaith dialogue and activities.
  6. Use video for direct communication from Cardinal and to share the Pope’s messages.
  7. Use blogs for education topics such as Euthanasia and to equip people to respond, or for educating people on theology explained in an easily understood way.
  8. Modernise Archdiocesan website, simplify the language to make the message clear and make it easier to find what you need.
  9. Create a tool to assess strengths and weaknesses of a parish.
  10. In parish newsletters advertise one small activity or action people can do that week eg supporting an event an outside organisation is running, school working bee.