Looking Forward Project

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Looking Forward – a process of preparing now for the future

At its November 2015 meeting, the Bishop’s Advisory Council of the Ballarat Diocese endorsed the continuation of the Looking Forward project.   In 2016 there will be a focus on strengthening existing Ministry Districts and creating new ones.  Looking Forward Gatherings will again be held in 2016 in centres throughout the diocese.  Details will be sent to parishes soon and will be posted on this webpage and in E-news.   

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Looking Forward Gatherings held around the Diocese July- September 2015.

We encourage you to share your reflections with others in your parishes.

Included on this page:

    Looking Forward
* Stage 1 – Parish Self-Appraisal
       * Stage 2 – The Looking Forward resource document click here to download
       * Stage 3 – Looking Forward Gatherings                     
                      – Information from the PowerPoints presented at the Gatherings
       * Stage 4 – Sharing Resources             
                      – Parish Action              
       * Stage 5 – Looking Forward 2015 – Gatherings around the Diocese 
       * Diocesan Resource Centre
       * Youth and Young Adult Ministry
* Books to Read
* National Office for Evangelisation
* "Take a walk in new shoes"
* Reflections
* Proclaim
* Youth Masses

Looking Forward
Looking Forward is a strategy initiated by Bishop Paul and the Bishop’s Advisory Council in order to prepare now for the future.

Looking Forward is an ongoing process. It commenced in 2014 with four stages.
Looking Forward continues in 2015 with Stage 5. The stages are part of a continuous process – in other words, all stages are still relevant and happening.

Stage 1 – Parish Self-Appraisal   
These were surveys to guide Parishes in making a self-appraisal to provide a ‘snapshot’ of their own parish situation and as a planning guideline within parishes.  It is suggested that each Parish returns regularly to their self-appraisal as they engage with the Looking Forward project.  The self-appraisals were distributed in January 2014 and most parishes completed them by mid 2014.

Stage 2 – The Looking Forward resource document for pastoral planning in the Diocese of Ballarat.  This resource booklet was distributed from February 2014 onwards.  The aims of this document are to encourage personal reflection and discussion within parishes.  This document also forms the basis of Stage 3.

Click HERE for a copy of Looking Forward.  Or email amanda.smith@ballarat.catholic.org.au to order more hard copies.

Stage 3 – Looking Forward Gatherings
Eight Gatherings have been held around the Diocese of Ballarat between July and October 2014.  Altogether, more than 500 people attended.  The Gatherings were led by Vicar-General Fr Justin Driscoll and Diocesan Pastoral Services Consultant Amanda Smith.  At each Gathering, issues raised by the Looking Forward resource document were discussed and parishioners shared their hopes and ideas in smaller groups.  The words and inspiration of Pope Francis underpinned all the presentations, including:  
      The parish is the presence of the Church in a given territory, 
      an environment for hearing 
      God’s word, 
      for growth in the Christian life, 
      for dialogue, proclamation, 
      charitable outreach, 
      worship and celebration.  
      In all its activities the parish encourages and trains its members
      to be evangelisers.             
      It is a community of communities, 
      a sanctuary where the thirsty 
      come to drink 
      in the midst of their journey,
      and a centre of constant missionary outreach.

                      Pope Francis The Joy of the Gospel #28
                     Click here to read full text of Evangelii Gaudium

Looking Forward Gathering Ballarat

Information from the PowerPoint presented at the Gatherings can be found by clicking on the titles below: 
  * Why the steady decline in engagement with Catholic faith?    
  * Quotes from Pope Francis
  * Continuous Improvement    
  * The Looking Forward Prayer

Stage 4 – Sharing Resources             
              – Parish Action    
From November 2014 onwards, parishes and other groups are being asked to continue the discussions, to share resources and ideas, and to start taking steps forward.

Stage 5 – Looking Forward 2015
In 2015 Parish Pastoral Councils, School and Parish Leadership Groups and Priests were invited to prepare for the Looking Forward 2015 Gatherings. These 2015 Gatherings were held in centres around the Diocese as follows:

Warrnambool  ~  Ararat  ~  Hamilton  ~  Horsham
Colac  ~  Wendouree  ~  Donald  ~  Swan Hill

Click HERE for full details of the Gatherings

Click HERE for Parish Preparation (Focus) for the Gatherings document



The Diocesan Resource Centre has a wide range of books and other resources available for free borrowing in person or by mail. Phone: 5337 7149.
Catalogue available here 


Books to read

There is no one book that has “all the answers”. But these books and links have lots of good ideas and information.    
Titles mentioned here are available from the Resource Centre and also available for purchase from Pauline Books and Media (03) 9882 3424.

Rebuilt – The Story of a Catholic Parish – Awakening the Faithful, Reaching the Lost, Making Church Matter,  Michael White and Tom Corcoran.
Tools for Rebuilding  – 75 Really, Really Practical Ways to May Your Parish Better, Michael White and Tom Corcoran.
The New Evangelisation – Issues & Challenges for Catholic Schools, Richard M. Rymarz  (also has good chapters relevant to parishes and wider church).
The Social Media Gospel – Sharing the Good News in New Ways, Meredith Gould.
Empowering Young People – Implementing a Vision for Catholic youth Ministry, Christian Fini.
Forming Intentional Disciples – The Path to Knowing and Following Jesus, Sherry A. Weddell.
Catholic and Confident: Simple Steps to Share Your Faith, Henry Libersat
Australian Catholic Youth Ministry eds Fr Christian Fini and Fr Christopher Ryan
Young People, Faith and Social Justice,  Joan Daw


Evangelisation resources available
National Office for Evangelisation here


“Take a walk in new shoes”
      Download here


Here are some Reflections from E-News over the past few months. There is a different Reflection and photo on each edition of E-News.  They are all available on the Diocesan website under News & Events.  Subscription information is also on that page.         
     * Prayer for Creative Thinkers
     * Christ Has No Body
     * As You Walk
     * May Today there be Peace
     * Children of the World



Proclaim 2014

Forty-seven people from Ballarat Diocese attended the Proclaim Conference in Sydney in August 2014.  They heard a wide range of presentation and shared ideas in workshops with people from parishes around Australia.  These “proclaimers” have brought back their ideas to share with others as part of the whole Looking Forward project.  The Proclaim website has podcasts and other information from the Conference:  www.proclaimconference.com.au  (under Resources).   You can also check out: www.rebuiltparish.com for ideas and resources from the Proclaim Keynote speakers: Fr Michael White and Tom Corcoran of The Church of the Nativity parish. Click here for Proclaim Prayer.

The Cathedral Parish Proclaimers present their thoughts on Proclaim in their parish newsletter. 

For the Gordon Parish Proclaimers report click here.


Youth Mass Initiatives
Many parishes have initiated or restarted Youth Masses including Birchip, Gordon, Mildura and Warrnambool. 5pm Sunday seems a popular time followed by shared food and friendship.


Youth and Young Adult Ministry. Click HERE for more details


What are you doing in your Parish?
Send in your Looking Forward ideas to share through this website.  
Email: faith@ballarat.catholic.org.au

For more information contact 53377125 or Email: amanda.smith@ballarat.catholic.org.au