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What next?

The recent parish gathering saw discussion move forward on four important areas. It is hope that we will soon do more work together as a parish and plans are being developed to hold a series on ‘between the Masses’ workshop style discussions. Here is a summary of the gathering discussion.


Sustainable communities

This group focused on the buildings and spaces we have. With the Pope’s words from Laudate si’ as a guide, we talked about what kind of communities we wanted at St Canice’s and how we might build a new social fabric in the future. We have three different residential communities, each one operating with important lessons on how to live together. We also have places of work, and programs to reach out to those on the streets. How could we create something beautiful for the people who need our help the most – not just our hand-me-downs or leftover spaces?

Lay leadership

Our group discussed lay leadership. We took as our starting point that lay leadership was
about co-responsibility for our values and vision – not about filling ‘the gap’ in the absence of a priest or ‘putting hands up for jobs’. If we are to envision what being Church means on our small corner of Elizabeth Bay, our group saw that lay leadership needs to be rooted in our breaking open of the Word and Bread. We also spoke about the importance of creating opportunities to come to know each other beyond “being that person in the second pew three from the end.” We canvassed ways people may contribute ideas and agreed that these ways needed to be accessible, inclusive and respectful of diverse views. To advance our thinking and understanding about lay leadership we agreed some communal input on this topic would beneficial.


The discussion focused largely on the work of the Kitchen. There was universal agreement that ‘feeding people’ and offering ‘dignity’ were the defining aspects of St Canice’s outreach. The discussion also confirmed a desire to secure the parish’s long-standing commitment to Railaco, though no solutions were arrived at. There was also interest in developing some sort of social enterprise for homeless people, perhaps doing more with the parish’s musical capabilities as a form outreach, engaging with and supporting the volunteers who give time to the Kitchen, as well as developing a fund raising capability. Much to do and all welcome.

Faith & spirituality

St Canice’s has been a spiritual home for many over the years. She attracts a diverse mixture of people, but a common theme that was identified was that she welcomed the outsider. Comments such as:

“I was lost and alone and I felt welcomed.”

“It is a place where I could come and speak to someone about what was in my heart. From that experience I have come to find a home, a place where I could grow.”

“At St Canice’s Religion and spirituality are from the inside out, there is no sense of imposing.”

“It is not a churchy place, a place that does
not try to mould, but it invites evolution.”

“We are a place where someone will listen. The parish of Canice’s meets her visitors where they are, as she always has.”

“Way, way back she was having mass for the Gay and Lesbian community.”

“There is something for everyone here; it is like a monastery in the city. It is a place open to many people, there is a way to develop here, and all are welcome.”

We are the custodians of an extraordinary history, a history that is marked by an openness and welcome. Our church is broad, we recognise the outsider, and we want them to feel at home and welcome. People find their own spirituality here, ways to contribute and grow under her roof.

People offered their offered their own experiences, giving us a foundation of who we are, our Identity. At heart we hear these stories and understand how we are called to nourish with word, sacrament and prayer.

So, watch out for…

Workshop style discussion, with coffee and sweets, that will be scheduled to take place between the 8:30 and 10:30 Sunday Masses in a few weeks time.