From the July 2017 edition…
Reboot the faith
One of the world’s top Catholic speakers is coming to Glasgow – with a mission to reboot the Catholic faith of the Archdiocese.
Chris Stefanick is currently selling out events across America in his ministry which presents the Catholic faith in all its beauty, power and truth in an engaging and uplifting way.
He has worked for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in the areas of marriage and family life, laity, and youth. This month he brings Reboot Live to Glasgow.
Glasgow University’s historic Bute Hall has been booked for Thursday July 27 for the event and organisers are hoping for a sellout.
Fr Joe Lappin, Director of Religious Education for the Archdiocese, who has been instrumental in bringing Chris Stefanick to Scotland said: “Reboot Live will be like no ordinary Church event. Chris’s dynamic presentation will bring people to tears, to laughter, and most importantly, to Christ. He presents the Gospel in all its beauty to a world much in need of the joy only Jesus can bring.
“It’s like hearing the Gospel for the first time. We all need a ‘faith boost’ from time to time. This is like no other faith event you’ve ever been to. We hope those who come along will reach out to their family and friends who have fallen away from the faith, who have lost touch with the Lord and His Church and invite them to come home.”
One attendee at a recent event said: “We can’t believe it. We had a man at the event last week who hasn’t been to Church in 50 years. I saw him at Mass yesterday. He told me he is so grateful for the event because it finally opened his heart to God. He just needed an invitation to the right thing. We haven’t felt this joy-filled leaving the church in a very long time.”
Fr Lappin said: “I became aware of Chris Stefanick through his website: www.reallifecatholic.com. It contains some great resources that we use with teachers and we recommend them to make use of his material in the classroom. Of particular help are his short videos which can be informative, instructional and inspirational.
The event in Glasgow can only be described as guided by the Holy Spirit. On the spur of the moment I contacted Chris by email to explore the possibility of him coming over to do some youth, teacher and parish events. In the meantime, he was planning to come to Britain on holiday with his family this summer.”
Chris Stefanick said: "One evening I was praying about going to the United Kingdom and whether to break the family holiday with some ministry work. I asked the Lord about getting to Scotland – if I was going to England, how could I reach out and present the beautiful message of the Gospel in Scotland? I left it with the Lord, went to bed and when I got up the next morning Fr Joe’s email was waiting for me with an invitation to Glasgow.”
Since that initial contact, a great team of volunteers has offered time and talents to organise the event and presentations have been made to the priests of the Archdiocese, the Head Teachers and many of the school staff to promote the event.
Archbishop Tartaglia said: “When I was in Philadelphia recently I was struck by the Archbishop of that city – Archbishop Charles Chaput’s view of the Reboot phenomenon. He said to me, ‘Chris Stefanick is recognised as one of the most creative ministers to youth and young adults in the United States. He has extended his ministry to parish communities as well. He brings deep personal faith and an exciting energy to the Reboot programme. Chris Stefanick practises what he preaches. And what he preaches is exciting and Catholic.’ With a recommendation like that I think we are in for a great event in Glasgow.”
Pastoral Council helps prepare parishes for a future of changes
Lay people from across the Archdiocese met last month to offer their insights and advice to the Archbishop on how to structure parish provision in the future.
Representatives from 17 of the 22 parish clusters set up several years ago were present at the Eyre Hall gathering of the Diocesan Pastoral Council. The Archbishop presided and the Vicar General, Monsignor Paul Conroy, and the Chancellor, Monsignor Paul Murray, were in attendance.
The event allowed a frank and honest exchange of views on the current state of parish life and the need for restructuring over the next decade.
Archbishop Tartaglia said: “I called the Diocesan Pastoral council because I wanted to hear a consistent lay voice. It’s important to have a lay voice within the structures of governance of the Archdiocese. My main aim was to try to get a sense of how the clustering proposals were working, whether they were effective, and what alternatives people would like to see put in place.”
Monsignor Murray set out the current reality of pastoral provision, recalling the information presented in 2013 which showed that the existing number of parishes was not sustainable into the future.
In response the Archbishop had proposed a 10 year plan from 2015 until 2025 to form clusters of parishes in the hope that a new shape of parish provision would emerge organically.
Mgr Murray said: “There was a wide variety of experiences of clustering. Generally, clusters worked better when there was a defined geographical area. Where this was the case, there had been a good degree of collaboration and a couple of the clusters had already begun to arrange Mass times so that a smaller number of priests could celebrate all the Masses. Although most clusters found it easier to encourage parishioners to attend spiritual rather than social events, one cluster had a successful trip with 150 parishioners going down the water in the Waverley!
“The majority, however, reported fewer successes. In many cases, poor transport links had made it difficult for parishioners to come together for shared events. In other cases, the original proposed clustering arrangement had not worked and parishes had agreed to make adjustments. There was a general consensus that progress had been relatively slow.”
After a period of discussion, a consensus arose:
• It would be worth pursuing a clustering strategy as a way ahead. However, there were some qualifications, namely that more information be disseminated in an effort to make priests more committed to the process.
• It was acknowledged that not every cluster is fit for purpose but that a process was underway which is organic.
• It was asked that there be meetings of the Diocesan Pastoral Council more frequently than once a year.
The Archbishop thanked participants for their honesty, and reassured them it had been useful to hear the experiences of the different parts of the Archdiocese. He reminded them that in order to be sustainable into the future the number of parishes in the Archdiocese would have to reduce to around 45 within the next 10 years. He also noted that at the end of this period he would be at an age where he would have to demit office as Archbishop and was therefore keen to pass on a sustainable situation to his successor.