A New Future for Parish 2020

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP

"My hope is for a Church in which the Gospel is preached with joy, the wisdom of our tradition mined with fidelity, the sacraments celebrated with dignity and welcome, and the seminaries, convents and youth groups teeming with new life; a Church in which our parishes, chaplaincies and educational institutions are true centres of the new evangelisation, our laity theologically literate and spiritually well-formed, our outreach to the needy effective and growing, and God glorified above all"

- Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP, Homily from Mass of Installation,
12 November 2014

Parish 2020 is a pastoral projected initiated in 2016 with the goal of examining the situation and mission of the Archdiocese, its challenges and opportunities, the spiritual gifts of its people, and the structures that can best support new approaches to evangelisation and the growth of our parishes and communities into the future.

This important fact-finding mission has enabled Archbishop Fisher to hear the voices of our clergy, religious and lay faithful, our deaneries and local parishes as well as our migrant communities. It is only by such sharing of hopes and commitment to working together as an Archdiocese that we can take the best view of things.

As we look to the future, our Church is called to place the encounter with Jesus Christ anew at the heart of our life, our structures and our ways of doing things. It is from this living encounter with the Lord that all genuine renewal in the Church becomes possible and the mission of evangelisation finds its source and inspiration.

As the Church in Sydney, we seek to live out this mission of Jesus Christ in a time of unprecedented change in our city and suburbs. Sydney’s population continues to grow while the way people live, work and worship has changed. We are ever mindful that not as many people engage with our parishes as they once did. Many more Australians identify as ‘no religion’ than ever before. Some traditional methods of outreach that once worked no longer seem to serve our Gospel mission in this new situation.

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP

Despite many challenges, by God’s grace our parishes have nurtured the faith of hundreds of thousands of people across the years, and even as we give thanks for the past, we must plan for our future.

It is clear that if we are to live Jesus’ great commission in this new time – to deepen our discipleship and make disciples of others – we need to embrace a new passion, as well as discern new methods and expressions of evangelisation and parish life in our Archdiocese.

Like Christians of every age, we are being called to spiritual renewal and new ways of organising ourselves for God’s mission, so that our communities are truly mission-oriented and better connected with one another, reach out to those yet to hear the message of the Gospel, and plan for generations yet to come.

Plans for our mission in the Archdiocese of Sydney will be announced in due course, setting out key priorities and proposals for the health and vitality of our parishes and communities.

As we review the work undertaken over these past years, we also plan for the future including practical resources for renewal, drawing on best practices from here and elsewhere and upon the insights of these past years of conversation, research and planning.

– Daniel Ang, Director Parish 2020 (August 2019)