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This week produced the clearest evidence yet that the Synod Fathers are sharply divided between those who are supporting Pope Francis in his efforts to present a more pastoral vision of the Church and those determined first and foremost to emphasise its moral teaching
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The Diocese of Portsmouth is to hold discernment interviews for Catholics in its parishes this weekend as part of an evangelisation drive.
The Called and Gifted Workshop is due to be held in Botleigh Grange Hotel and Spa in Southampton. While there parishioners will be invited to complete an inventory of their spiritual gifts, followed by an interview with a counsellor who will identify charisms including teaching, mercy and hospitality, and suggest one for them to develop.
In a video to promote the workshop the Bishop of Portsmouth, Philip Egan, called for a better involvement of lay people in parish life, urging priests to take time to consider their parishioners’ individual skills.
“Very often I’ve found in my own experience as a pastor in the parish I think I need some Eucharistic ministers or readers, so there are some slots that need to be filled … in fact what we should be doing is very carefully discerning the gifts that God has given to an individual,” he said.
He called for a greater missionary consciousness among priests and people of the diocese.
“Many Catholics drift away from practising their Catholic faith because they don’t have as strong sense of or a personal relationship with God,” he said. “They don’t have a sense of personal call.”
The workshop, which is fully booked, is due to be be led by US author Sherry Weddell, who is co-founder of the Catherine Siena Institute based in Colorado. A spokesman for the Bishop said that he considered her book Forming Intentional Disciples to be “one of the most important books in pastoral theology in recent years.”
The Diocese paid for the workshop but charged non-parishioners £50 to attend.