You will remember from the newsletter that a group of people from our Parish was preparing to attend the Jesuit Parishes Conference at High Leigh, Hertfordshire (Thursday 13th – Saturday 15th February 2014).
This was an opportunity where parishes that are administered by the Jesuits met to discuss how each parish could help one other on pastoral matters and in the administration of parishes. Saint Anselm’s sent 9 delegates to the conference.The conference programme was a mixture of talks, workshops, prayer and Mass.
One of the talks was given by the Provincial Fr Dermot Preston SJ on St Ignatius, Jesuit history in Britain, the role of the Jesuit parish and the challenging times we face with fewer Jesuit priests.
Fr Simon Bishop SJ gave a talk on Ignatian spirituality and went through the Jesuit way of silent prayer known as The Examen, which is a very deep way of prayer and brings a person closer to God. St Ignatius Loyola discovered that God’s will is not something outside our daily lives, but is revealed through our heartfelt responses to its ups and downs.
The workshops that ran through the day were varied and were all set around Parish life.
Although many of the Jesuit parishes are flourishing at the moment, we all face a future where there are fewer Jesuits to support parish life. So now is the time to prepare for this challenge.
The conference was a very enriching experience for all of us and it was wonderful to meet so many men and women who are very active in their parishes. The whole idea of getting together was to try and explore ways in which we can respond to our Holy Father, Pope Francis’ request to become thriving centres of love and hope in the world.
Having discussed, prayed and reflected as St. Anselm’s parish group, we identified 5 areas that need to be addressed in our parish.
1) Keeping the doors open- to be a welcoming community particularly for those in need.
2) The urgency of ministry to our young people and particularly to organise a summer camp for young people.
3) Exploring the teaching of St. Ignatius in prayer and life.
4) The need to be constantly improving communication and celebrate our lives in faith.
There is a display at the back of the Church with photographs taken at the conference. Please take time to have a look at this.