Pastoral Renewal Exchange (PRE) 

PRE was started by Fr Brian Green in 1978 to allow those involved in pastoral work to exchange ideas, personal experiences and information. Fr Brian taught at Ushaw College from 1969 -77 and developed a Pastoral Theology course. He then moved to Dinnington to become parish priest of St Joseph’s in 1977.

PRE is received by clergy, religious and lay members of the Church in the British Isles, Europe, Australia and Canada.  Editions are now produced biennially and are packed with interesting quotations, reflections, book reviews and writing on pastoral work. (See the index for issue 162 below)

In his second editorial in 1979, musing on when he first started working in a parish, Fr Brian wrote:

“First of all, it helped to see the value of what can be called PASTORAL REFLECTION. In some ways it is just a practical form of meditation and prayer. Renewal, after all, is the work of God, so our first task is simply to “let God be God” in us. 

It is a matter of opening ourselves up so that his ways of thinking become ours and what we do flows from his presence in us. 

Prayer is the starting point of renewal. Someone has said that we should pray with the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other. Pastoral reflection means listening in our hearts both to the Word of God revealed to us in the Scriptures and teachings of the Church, and the Word of God speaking to us through the world in which we live. We discover a new harmony between the two – indeed an ever-changing range of harmonies; and through the harmony we begin to detect the voice of God, showing us the way forward, resolving doubts and restoring confidence. Especially when two or three are gathered for such prayerful and theological reflection, Christ is there. We may pick up his message through any of his members, and the occasion may be informal and light-hearted. 

(The) conviction grew during my stay at Ushaw: that the parish must take a central position in our work for renewal. Small basic communities may well provide the spearhead for the Church’s future mission: but they need to be serviced and anchored to the larger community of the Church. Narrow parochialism must go. A revitalising of the parish, and especially of a team of people at the creative centre of the parish, seems at the moment to be one of our most urgent priorities. “

Discernment and synodality explained in less than 300 words!

If you’re interested in receiving PRE please write to Tony Lear at aandmlear@googlemail.com

In the most recent issue, PRE 162, the Native American 10 commandments

The Earth is our Mother, care for Her.
Honour all your relations.
Open your heart and soul to the Great Spirit.
All life is sacred; treat all beings with respect.
Take from the Earth what is needed and nothing more. Do what needs to be done for the good of all.
Give constant thanks to the Great Spirit for each day. Speak the truth but only for the good in others.
Follow the rhythms of nature.
Enjoy life’s journey, but leave no tracks.

PRE 162 Index – to give you a flavour of the contents

1 Ten Years of PRE 

2  Christ in the Here and Now – Fr Brian Green 

3  Speaking Personally – Fr Brian Green 

4  Jesus lives in our hearts – Fr Brian Green 

5  A prayer for the people of Ukraine and the people of Russia 

6  Pope Francis to Europe’s Catholic Bishops 

7  God comes to women too by Heather Farrell 

8  Synodality Church’s “antidote to clericalism” by Maurice Cardinal Piat 

9  What Is Spirituality by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat 

10  The Native American 10 Commandments by Duane Short 

11-12 Notes and Quotes 

13  Positive Attitudes by Courtney E. Ackerman 

14  The Promotion of Positive Attitudes Towards Disability by Courtney E. Ackerman 

15  Reflections On War And Politics, Hermann Hesse 

16  The Way of Discernment by Elizabeth Liebert 

17-18 Gratitude in a Time of Drought by Norann Voll
19-20 Not in God’s Name by Jonathan Sacks (Hard Texts)
21-22 St. Joseph’s Dinnington Journey – CAFOD Live Simply Campaign by Chris Parrott 23-24 Confetti All Around by Eric Clayton.

“Preach the Gospel”

Pope Francis, who has been working on a new constitution for the Roman Curia with his council of Cardinals (photo above) for several years, has now issued Praedicate Evangelium,  (“Preach the Gospel”) which introduces wide-ranging and fundamental changes to the Vatican’s administration and bureaucracy. They aim to ensure that the Roman Curia, the oldest bureaucracy in the world, is better geared towards missionary evangelisation. Some of the most important changes include

Evangelisation: Pope Francis’ mission for the Church is reflected in a new Dicastery for Evangelisation, headed by the Pope himself,  which takes precedence among the Vatican’s departments. 

Charity: A welcome addition is a new Dicastery for charity, signalling its importance in the Church’s missionary work, and setting an example to dioceses everywhere.

Role of Laypeople: “The Pope, the bishops and other ordained ministers are not the only evangelisers in the Church,” the constitution’s introduction says. “The reform of the Curia, therefore, must include the involvement of laymen and women, also in roles of governance and responsibility.” Therefore, laymen or women can now “head a dicastery or organism”. This replaces provisions in the old constitution that required the majority of departments to be led by a bishop or cardinal. 

Collaboration: “The Roman Curia does not stand between the Pope and the bishops, but rather places itself at the service of both,” Rather than continuing in its traditional bureaucratic role, the Curia is thus called to adopt a model in keeping with the Pope’s call for greater synodality in the Church. 

Safeguarding: the safeguarding of minors moves from an advisory Pontifical Commission to a new Office within the new Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith. 

For more information go to: Vatican News and The Tablet

Synod: Quo Vadimus?

The Plymouth Diocese held a pre-synodal meeting of Parish representatives last week, and is now in the process of preparing the Diocesan ‘synthesis’ to go forward for discernment by the Conference of Bishops. Guidance from the Vatican suggests that the synthesis should indicate “how the Holy Spirit’s call to the Church has been understood in the local context” and pay attention not only to common trends but also to discordant points of view and voices “because the process of discernment could recognize them as prophetic voices that indicate what the Spirit is asking of the Church.” This is not an easy task and the Diocesan team have asked for our prayers and support as they seek to do this.

Synod: “Quo Vadimus?”

“Is this it, now we’ve had our say?  I have no sense whatsoever of ‘Where do we go from here as a parish community’, of any kind of Diocesan lead?” (name given)

The above reader’s comments echo those of other readers in both Truro and other parishes, reflecting a sense of unease at the prospect — after all the prayer, discernment and effort expended in examining our local situations so far — of being left in limbo  for 2-3 years. The PORTICO is not privy to any plans at diocesan or parish level, but we recall Bishop Mark saying that the Diocese is already making a start on our synodal journey via his “A Precious Place” initiative which both he and Canon Deeny have stressed remains a key point of reference. We pray that what we have done is but the first tentative step in a brisk thousand-mile synodal journey!

“Ukraine refugees under our roof”: a special Supplement

We are now constantly deluged with news of the  seemingly endless violence and destruction in Ukraine. In the midst of all this fear, our attached Supplement offers a heartwarming first-hand account from one of our own Truro community, of her experience of dealing with Ukraine refugee women and children in Poland.

The supplement can be viewed and downloaded: here

CAFOD Hot-X Event

On the feast of the Transfiguration, a large congregation turned up to attend Sunday morning Mass.  Afterwards the CAFOD group held a Hot Cross Bun coffee morning in the Church Hall, and many church-goers stayed behind for a tea/coffee and a natter, despite the absence of the CAFOD group’s traditional bacon baps, enthused both by the glorious sunshine, and the welcome opportunity to exchange greetings and news with fellow parishioners in our first social gathering for a long time!

Celebrating First Reconciliation!

A special occasion took place for fourteen of our children and their families on 12th March when the First Holy Communion group celebrated the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time. Afterwards, everyone had a celebration in the Hall, with cakes and other goodies in plentiful supply! Our thanks as always to Samantha and Kay for leading our young children on this beautiful journey.

Spring Walks

Churches Together Walking meet at 9.30am on Wednesday mornings at St George’s church car park for a 6 mile walk taken at a steady pace.

Here are May’s planned walks:

  • 18th. Bude. Ron
  • 25th. Treslothan. Barry

Bring a packed lunch and come prepared for the weather. If in doubt about the weather call the leader (numbers shown below) before 9am for more information.

  • Ron and Jean Cooke 01209 711725
  • Peter Cranch. 01872 271715
  • Barry Pettit 01872 273222
  • Margaret Hocking. 01872 719529

Christian Aid film attracts broad audience

Last Thursday, an ecumenical crowd, with strong support from parishioners of Our Lady of the Portal, gathered at the newly opened Moresk Centre to watch “Thank you for the Rain”, a moving documentary hosted by Christian Aid’s Katrina Musgrave. Canon Roger Bush, Dean of Truro Cathedral, open the discussion after the film, which all thought drew us much closer to the plight of people at the sharp end of climate change, and brought home the irony of the title “thank you for the rain”.

Pope installs men and women as new lay ministers

This year’s celebration of the liturgy Sunday of the Word of God (23 January in St Peter’s Basilica included some very special moments, when Pope Francis formally installed lay men and women from various parts of the world in the ministries of Lector and Catechist, using recently prepared rites for this purpose.
In most countries, women and men have long served as lectors and catechists and even have been commissioned for those roles. But those now formally installed in the ministries are recognised as having a specific vocation to leadership in their communities and will serve in what the church defines as a “stable” manner.
A statement from the Pontifical Council for Evangelisation (PCNE) explains that the “well-established practice in the Church has confirmed that lay ministries, founded on the sacrament of Baptism, can be entrusted to all the faithful who are suitable, whether male or female”
The formal revival of these lay Ministries, which can now be conferred by Bishops everywhere, is widely regarded as part of recent moves by the Pope to implement greater lay co-responsibility into the ecclesial forms and structures of the Church.

Hospital Quiz Answers

HERE ARE THE ANSWERS TO THE QUIZ IN ISSUE 60.

Which resulted in more cases of hospital treatment in England in 2021?

1. CORRECT is A) powered tools: 5000+ (hand tools: 2700+)

2. CORRECT is B) venomous spiders: 60 ( rat bite: 47)

3. CORRECT is A) overexertion / repetitive movements: 12,355 (dog bite 7,386)

4. CORRECT is A) playground equipment: 5300 (tree climbing: 962)

5. CORRECT is A) lawnmower injury: 349 , (sunburn: 153)

6. CORRECT is B) lightning strike: 18 (scorpions: 4)

7. Which one of the above was the biggest single cause of needing hospital treatment? OVEREXERTION!?!