This year’s main gathering of the Diocesan Pastoral Council takes place on Saturday 18 October. As we have in previous years, this particular gathering extends an invitation to all parish members (rather than just deanery delegates) for a day’s conversation, reflection and input.
Fr James Hanvey SJ will be with us on 18 October at St Brendan’s College, Brislington, to deepen our understanding of prayer and allow us to reflect upon what we are doing to deepen the prayer of the people of our communities. The afternoon will offer an opportunity for those taking part in the day to participate in a choice of prayer stations and workshops which will help to offer resources for parishes as well as exposing pastoral council members to different ways of praying.
This Diocesan Pastoral Council meeting is open to all who may be interested and involved in this particular aspect of parish life. It would be good if each parish were represented in some way. I would very much like to provide lunch for those taking part in the day, just to add to the nurturing aspect of our coming together. It would be helpful if you might be able to indicate if you are interested in participating in the day. You can inform us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0117 902 5595.
10.00am Gather and Refreshments
10.30am Keynote – Fr James Hanvey
12.30 – 1.15pm Lunch
1.15pm Setting the scene
1.30pm – 2.15pm Prayer Station/Workshop One
(2.15 – 2.30pm Transition)
2.30pm – 3.15pm Prayer Station/Workshop Two
3.30pm Final Thoughts and Blessing
Healing Prayer and a Healing Parish – Fr Richard McKay & Mary Hopper
Every person experiences sickness, sad times and haunting memories which diminish our ‘well-being’. How can we as individuals and as a parish community respond to these realities of living and so bring the healing of Christ to our sisters and brothers? How can ‘prayer that heals’ become integrated into our own and our parish’s prayer life?
Mothers Prayers – Mary Rooney
For mothers who wish to pray together for their children and grandchildren. Mothers Prayers was launched in England in 1995 by two grandmothers who felt led by the Lord to pray in a special way for their children. Through prayer they learned that Jesus wishes all mothers to surrender their children into his care, to take away pain from the mothers and pour blessings on their children. Mothers Prayers has now spread throughout the world and is in over 100 countries. During our meeting we join our prayers with one another and with other Mothers Prayer groups throughout the world, there have been many wonderful answers to prayers.
An Introduction to Centering Prayer – Penny Knight
Centering Prayer allows us space for the Lord to develop within each of us a capacity for our relationship with Him to become more profound, vibrant and alive. Collectively we pray through our rituals, in groups, and as individuals we pray conversationally. In Centering Prayer we develop a personal, silent companionship with Him, holding a general loving attention to the Divine Presence.
Christian Meditation – Roger Layet & Jeanne Blowers
The workshop will describe a way of meditation as a prayer practice, sketching the origins of this way within Christianity and why modern Christians are inspired to follow it. Then we will sit to meditate together. “The aim of Christian meditation is to allow God’s mysterious and silent presence within us to become more and more the reality of our lives” (Fr. John Main OSB).
Home is a Holy Place – Anne Marie Sparrow
We can often forget that our homes are holy places and that where God is present there is love. How we can live our daily life in the awareness of God’s presence and how can this awareness deepen our relationships both within our family and with the visitors to our home? During this time of the Synod on the Family, this workshop gives us space to recapture something of the prayerfulness of the Domestic Church.
Adoration: “Be still and know that I am God” – Sister Mary Philippa
In a busy world, stillness within is a necessary luxury! This afternoon we will explore what can help us seek stillness seek prayer seek the Lord. This workshop takes place within the context of Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament.
Praying the Prayer of the Church – Doreen Wyatt
In the midst of our busy lives, praying the Divine Office, or Prayer of the Church, enables us to consecrate our day to the Lord, meeting with him at different times throughout the day using the rhythm of the psalms, sanctifying those moments as alone, or in a group, we join together to pray with and for the Church and our world.
Praying with St Ignatius – Fr James Hanvey
Spiritual Direction – Fr Tibor Szend
Praying the Word of God – Lectio Divina – Caroline Price
The Domestic Church – Praying as a Family – Kevin & Francesca Magner
Praying with new Media – Deacon John Scanlon
Prayer Chains – Rita Daws
Each workshop will be run twice, one at 1.30pm and then again at 2.30pm, giving you the opportunity to attend two of the workshops above. Hopefully this gives you an idea of the sessions you would like to take part in during the day. I look forward to welcoming you on Saturday 18 October.
With all good wishes
Fr Christopher Whitehead