Baldivis Parish Mission, an opportunity to grow as a community

08 Apr 2021

By Amanda Murthy

The Baldivis Parish Mission held at the Saint Teresa of Calcutta Parish focused on discipleship, prayer, mission and outreach from 17 March to 21 March 2021. Photo: Mother Teresa Catholic College.

Baldivis parishioners have recently spent five days (Wednesday, 17 March to Sunday, 21 March 2021) in spiritual and community engagement, with the mission of journeying together in discipleship, prayer, mission/outreach and doing so, as a family of faith.

The Baldivis Parish Mission included daily sessions by Archdiocese religious and agency staff and included opportunities for discussions, reflections, and the celebration of the Mass at the start of every day.

Baldivis Parish Priest, Father Geoff Aldous, said the Parish Mission was a great opportunity for parishioners to come together in prayer and to bond as a community.

Fr Aldous added that the mission has always been, to build up our faith community, by reaching out and welcoming people to the church, with love, as the parish approaches the much-awaited day of the church dedication, scheduled for 16 May.

Episcopal Vicar for Education and Faith Formation Father Vincent Glynn and Baldivis Parish Priest Father Geoff Aldous celebrates Mass at the Baldivis Parish Mission from 17 March to 21 March 2021. Photo: Mother Teresa Catholic College.

Each day, the participants had the opportunity to select one of six options to attend a workshop, run by various keynote speakers and workshop facilitators, including Episcopal Vicar for Education and Faith Formation Fr Vincent Glynn, Mundaring Parish Priest Fr John Daly, Catholic media company Shalom World, Dominican Religious Sister Margaret Scharf OP, 24:7 Youth Ministry Director Mario Borg, Director of the Office of Christian Initiation, Dr Carmel Suart, Rockingham Parish Priest Fr Pierluigi Vajra CRS, Archdiocesan Aboriginal Catholic Ministry Director, Donella Brown and Lyn Odegaard, Director of Centre for Life, Marriage and Family Derek Boylen and Karen Boylen.

Another feature of the Parish Mission was the involvement of students and staff from the neighbouring college, Mother Teresa Catholic college. The students interviewed the speakers, and leaders involved, amongst other things.

Sr Margaret Scharf who delivered a workshop on the power of prayer said she hopes that the parishioners will leave with the understanding that “prayer is about a friendship and a good relationship with God.”

“We want to build up that relationship with God, and that is why we pray – its’ not because we have to but because we want to,” Sr Margaret Scharf said.

“Secondly, I hope the participants learn that they can pray in the way that they know best how to – and then of course, there are two types of prayer – prayer in community, when we come to Mass and gather with friends, but there is also that personal relationship with God that is so important.”

What it means to be a Kolbe Catholic College Chaplain, youth representative Matt Woodford, recollecting his workshop session, shared that the group discussed the need for young people to have a strong identity in who they are as children of God.

The Baldivis Parish Mission held from 17 March to 21 March 2021 was an opportunity for the faithful to engage with the mission of journeying together in discipleship, prayer, mission/outreach and doing so, as a family of faith. Photo: Mother Teresa Catholic College.

“Reflecting on our theme for today ‘what does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus today?’, we spoke about how young people need to know that they are loved, they need to know that they are worthy, because God is love, and so when we know God is love, we know that love is available and free for every one of us,” Mr Woodford said.

“Somebody who knows who Jesus is and who has a personal relationship with Him and wants to help others come to know Jesus so that they too can grow a personal relationship with Him and follow Him.

“We encouraged the participants to share the love of Christ with all whom they may encounter in their daily lives,” he concluded.

Fr Glynn who presented the topic ‘discipleship’ on day one, said that it is important to remember that we are all called firstly, to be disciples of Christ in our lives, to have a relationship with the person of Jesus (one that involves prayer and being part of a community), and then we are called to be evangelisers – to take the Gospel back to our friends, families and communities.

“Being a Christian is not just about attending Mass once a week, it is about taking the message of God’s love out there to the world in the things that we say and do.”

The final day of the retreat began with a Mass celebrated by Perth Auxiliary Bishop Don Sproxton at 9.30am, followed by an expo.

The expo provided an avenue for participants to learn about the different groups and ministries of the Church.

Activities to cultivate community culture included a round robin football tournament on Sunday afternoon which saw teams from the Hub parishes compete in the matches, and outdoor activities for the children organised by students from Mother Teresa Catholic College.