Diocese roadshow uncovers sadness and hope


A report has been released about a rural roadshow embarked on by the Dunedin Catholic diocese last July.

The authors say they found communities hopeful and willing to work to keep the faith alive but also discovered a Church saddened by amalgamations and the pandemic.

Visiting several small towns in the diocese’s Otago-Southland catchment, the roadshow team gathered the views of 113 people. Most were reportedly in the 50-and-above age group and were Pakeha.

“When we first set up these meetings, we thought we might get six to eight people. The number we did get has demonstrated there was a desire for something,” one said.

She said she was touched by “the depth and variety of emotions expressed, especially around church closures, even though they understand the practicality of the decisions made.

“The sense of loss, not just of the church, but also their community, was still very raw for some.”

“While these meetings were held just before the synod process started, they have given us a great insight into our rural communities and their needs,” a team member said.

Specific issues mentioned at all the meetings focused on ageing parish populations and dwindling parish numbers, the post-roadshow report says.

Among the recommendations from the different communities were: the formation of lay ministers, working with the youth, a more collaborative ministry in the pastoral areas, and financial assistance for parish councils, particularly in the maintenance of their buildings.

The diocese is planning another roadshow for this year.


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News category: New Zealand.

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