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Henley Beach looks to the future


Parishes, schools and communities provided input last month into the forthcoming Adelaide Diocesan Assembly, but one seaside parish had extra motivation to share its priorities.

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Henley Beach will become a Diocesan parish when the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart withdraw from the parish at the end of the year.

In preparation for the Diocesan Assembly on October 21-22, parishes were asked to consider six themes identified by participants of the 2021 Diocesan Assembly to assist with developing strategic actions and goals.

Henley Beach parish priest Fr Peter Hearn msc cheekily asked parishioners to take home a ‘six pack’ and reflect on the questions grouped under the six themes.

The parish also provided an opportunity after every Mass on the weekend of July 30-31 for people to gather and discuss what resonated with them under each of the themes which were displayed on a sheet at six tables.

Parishioners could “rank” the recommendations on the spot or take home the ‘six pack’ and complete the rankings.

Parish Pastoral Council vice chair Noreen Gaudry said the council wanted to make sure it wasn’t an “arduous” process. A working group comprising 16 people was established and condensed the 260 recommendations. Members of the working group also acted as facilitators at the discussion groups.

Noreen said about 80 to 100 parishioners participated in the process and were “very engaged”, partly because of the recent announcement on the future of the parish.

Council member Sharina Rabusic agreed. “I think that’s why a lot of people actually came because it was an opportunity for them to come together…we provided tea, coffee and drinks, even after people finished (discussing the themes) it was just a chance to chat,” she said.

“Now that we’re going to become a Diocesan parish, people wanted to say ‘okay so what’s important to us moving forward’.”

The top three priorities for the parish included greater collaboration and partnerships to work for justice, peace and an integral ecology; being a welcoming and inclusive Church which listens to the voice of all, especially women; and providing liturgies and music for families with children.

The priorities for the Archdiocese were developing a strategic plan to lead in areas of social justice, ecology and political topics; reimagining the priesthood to be more inclusive, encouraging men and women deacons; and how to approach matters such as family planning and contraception, relationship breakdown, remarriage after divorce, LGBTQ+ people in ways that offer inclusion and Gospel love.

While there might be changes afoot at Henley Beach, there is plenty happening in the local community including the resumption of its popular Alpha group on Wednesday evenings, updating the history of the parish to include contributions from the past two decades and planning for a parish picnic/multicultural day on the grounds of St Michael’s College on Sunday October 9.

Past parishioners, old scholars of Star of the Sea School and their families, former members of Antioch and other parish groups are being encouraged to attend the picnic.

While the event will be an opportunity to mark the end of the MSC involvement in the parish, there will also be a farewell Mass celebrated by Archbishop Patrick O’Regan at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church on December 4.

Peter Bierer, assistant director, Pastoral Life and Mission for the Archdiocese, said approximately 1500 people had participated in the preparation process for this year’s assembly, which was more than the first assembly consultation phase.

“There’s good energy out there,” he said.

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