Synod 2017 - Clare Borst

10am Mass - Our Lady of Fatima, Waikanae - Sunday, 12 November 2017

00:00 - Gospel reading
01:54 - Fr Jim Kershaw introduces Clare
02:28 - Clare's talk

Fr Michael has asked me to talk briefly on the Archdiocesan Synod which was held in Wellington in September.

I was privileged to be one of some 13 delegates from this Parish.  We joined delegates from all over the Wellington Archdiocese and we had some 13 topics to consider. We came from all backgrounds and ethnicities. We were all at different places in our faith journey and as you can imagine, it was a very full-on and challenging weekend.

The discussions were very prayerful, measured and thoughtful. And out of these discussions have come 96 directions and priorities for the future direction of the Wellington Archdiocese. I think these are listed in the Welcome paper out today. So, 96 priorities may seem rather overwhelming and certainly a challenge for parishes, schools and the Archdiocese as a whole. As Cardinal John says “they challenge us to change”. 

Cardinal John said “we have much to look forward to and much to do.” He said “as pastoral ministry continues in our parishes, so we need to find ways of involving more people so that burnout does not become the primary outcome of the Synod”.

It would be easy to give all these 96 recommendations to our Parish Council and say here you are – it’s all yours. You do it. While Parish Councils will certainly take the lead, I asked myself what did I learn from the Synod and what is my personal response to it?

At the root of all those recommendations, is the desire to be better and to work more closely with the Holy Spirit, to seek His agenda, not our own. Scripture says we are co-workers with Christ and so I believe we all have a role to play.

Jesus said we are the salt of the earth. We know that salt is a precious substance that gives flavour but when it loses its flavour, it’s of no use at all. We carry the light of Christ within us. We are called to be the light in our communities, in a world that desperately needs to know the light that only Christ can give. We are called to be peacemakers – to bring the love of Christ to those who need to know Him. We are called to be instruments of His peace.

Of course, we need the programs, the structures and the policies to give us the framework we need to work within and to make sure we are all on the same page. But as individuals the best thing surely is simply to follow Jesus. To read what he said and do as he did. Jesus was always kind and that is something that is so often lacking in our world today.

I think Mother Suzanne Aubert put it very well when she said:  “Let us be kind, and we will give happiness, for nothing gives more happiness than kindness. Let us be kind, and we will be happy ourselves, and we will become Saints in imitating Him, who spent His life on earth going about doing good.”