Changes to Mass Times in Wellington South: Recommendations

Our Vision Statement—Our Communities
Our Vision Statement has guided the Parish Council in forming recommendations on Mass Times. The key principle which guided our recommendations was providing the greatest opportunity for our Mass communities to stay together so that, as a Parish, we can grow together and share Christ’s message.
In making the recommendations, the Council is full of hope for the future of our Parish. However we acknowledge that new Mass times will be a change and that they will not suit everyone. We also acknowledge that further discernment and adjustment to some Mass times may be needed, once communities have had an opportunity to experience the new times.

Our Wellington South Discernment process
The recommendations follow:
 a five week period of discernment in our communities,
 a workshop with community representatives and
 two meetings of the Parish Council, including a discernment process of prayer and reflection.
Through the discernment process in our communities the Council heard experiences from the past, and fears and hopes for the future. Discernment is not a process of discussion or debate, but one of prayer and reflection and listening to everyone’s voice.

At the workshop, community representatives noted that everyone needed to change. A Vigil, staggered morning Masses, and a Sunday evening Mass were favoured.

How the Council formed recommendations
The Parish Council met on Tuesday 22 November and worked through a series of options for changed Mass times. There was no clear or perfect solution.
We established that a Vigil Mass and Sunday evening Mass were still required. For Sunday morning Masses, we looked at options with two hours between Mass times to allow our priests time to spend with parishioners after Mass. We considered that the Archdiocesan first language chaplaincy Masses need to remain at 11am at St Anne’s and that while the hospital Mass is important, it does not necessarily have to be presided at by Wellington South priests. We made considerable progress toward recommendations, but given the importance of Mass changes, we decided to meet again to pray and reflect.

On Monday 28 November the Council met for a process of discernment. Our reflection and prayer guided us to final recommendations on Mass times for Wellington South. It became clear that Mass times of 8.30am and 11am would be too disruptive to our communities—which communities should be allocated to these times and would those communities be able to stay together? With the support of our priests, we opted for two sets of 9am and 10.30am Mass times. We will need to look at ways for our priests and lay pastoral leader to be able to spend time with all communities.

What happens next?
The Parish Council will write to Cardinal John with our recommendations and the process we followed. Cardinal John will make the final decision on our Mass times. If approved, changes to Mass times are not anticipated to occur until after an anniversary Mass in the later part of February.

The Recommendations
6pm Vigil Mass alternating between St Francis de Sales every 1st, 3rd and 5th Sunday of the month and
St Bernard’s every 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month. (A calendar will be provided.)
9am Mass St Anne’s
9am Mass St Joseph’s
10.30am Mass St Francis de Sales
10.30am Mass St Bernard’s
5pm Mass St Anne’s

Fr David Dowling, Fr Dennis Nacorda, Joe Green, Deirdre Hanlon, Stephen Neal, Elisapeta Elama, John Price, John Whiting, Joy Andersen, Lesley Hooper, Penny Holden
Parish Pastoral Council, Catholic Parish of Wellington South Parish, December 2016