Published: 25 January 2015
The Catholic Community of North Harbour in the Diocese of Broken Bay has begun a program called The Vine which, more than introduce further activity, highlights spiritual initiatives already is in the parish that can be further utilized.
What follows is a report written by Fr Brian Buckley O.S.A., parish priest.
The Vine was partly the inspiration of a speaker at a North Harbour parish assembly last winter that the idea of looking at spiritual renewal evolved on to the scene. The notion that we as a parish community should be more focused on ‘being’ rather than ‘doing’ is hardly a startling revelation in itself. All the same it can be difficult in practice to make this happen.
In a busy parish things tend to take their own course with a rhythm that deters reflection and stepping back from things. At the same time the gentle presence of Fr Dipi Kattathara O.S.A. who conducts regular meditation sessions, coupled with the enthusiasm for social media of one of the parish councillors, spurred us on to try to explore what might be done to foster some mode of spiritual growth and enrichment. A subcommittee and a couple of meetings later, And so “The Vine” was born.
The idea was meant to be a simple one, not to impose a whole new structure or hive of activity on a busy community, but to highlight what was already happening and available on our doorstep or a little beyond. Our website and parish bulletins began to feature opportunities to attend to our inner lives and spiritual nurture. Events or programs both within the parish or the diocese were nominated and promoted without a lot of fuss.
The second dimension of “The Vine” was an effort to somehow engage with a body of young parents and families interested in some spiritual nourishment but very much on the go and not within the gambit of our more structured parish worship and communication lines. This idea of using social media came into prominence and the expertise of Will Camphin came to the fore.
Within a few weeks we had developed and publicized a Twitter feed and Facebook Group with the same title and purpose – to engage people interested in some reflection, daily prayer or provoking thought that might link them with us and with each other. Just before our first parish council meeting for this year we were able to report a membership of fifty checking in for regular uploads of simple prayers, short articles and illustration on a variety of subjects on the faith or Christian values and ideas.
Where it will lead and how it is to be sustained are questions to be answered, but the tender shoots and tendrils are sprouting.