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Changing practices of prayer on the Fleurieu

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Witnessing the changing practices of prayer in a country community was one of the highlights for the Diocesan Team when it visited the Victor Harbor/Goolwa parish last month.

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As Administrator Delegate Fr Philip Marshall and Tim Grauel, Jill Gallio and Teresa Lynch from the Office for Renewing Parishes discovered during the visitation, parishioners on the Fleurieu Peninsula pray in many different ways.

As part of their ‘long day’ in the parish on April 2 they visited the St Joan of Arc Church in Victor Harbor and St John the Apostle Church in Goolwa, and met with representatives from several spirituality groups. They included people involved with Christian Life Community, Contemplative Living Community, Lectio Divina on Sunday Gospel, Cenacle, Rosary and Taize Prayer groups.

“We saw how parishioners pray in lots of different ways and we were all impressed by their openness to being involved with interfaith and ecumenical groups.

“This fits well with number one of the Gospel pathways, that the parish is a prayerful community in which each member is called to a personal relationship with Jesus,” said Fr Marshall.

He added that with the centenary of the St Joan of Arc Church being celebrated next year, it was timely to reflect on how people have changed their prayer habits over the past 100 years.

“We certainly are much more open to praying in each other’s churches and for different faiths to work collaboratively together,” Fr Marshall said.

With its striking early Roman architecture in terracotta and white colours and tall bell tower, St Joan of Arc Church has been a significant part of Victor Harbor’s life and landscape since 1920.

Current parishioners are now busy planning for next year’s celebrations which will reflect the important place the church – and its congregation – have played in the community over the years.

Only one of three churches in Australia named after St Joan of Arc, the Seaview Road chapel is currently under the care of parish priest Father Vinh Tran.

Chairman of the Parish Pastoral Council is Ray Klecko who, along with a team of parishioners, is busy organising several centenary projects.

They include the design and installation of two new leadlight windows on either side of the church’s stained glass window which depicts the young Joan of Arc. Still revered in France after 500 years, young teenager Jeanne d’Arc led a French army to victory against a much larger English enemy –thanks to Jeanne’s faith that God was with her and her remarkable courage in battle.

Mr Klecko said there had been an “overwhelming response” from the community for their input in the design of the new windows and it is hoped the project will be finished in time for the church’s birthday early in January 2020.

Other projects for the centenary include a history booklet and a calendar.

 

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