(Published in The Record Magazine, 01 Oct 2020), By Theresia Titus

The Innaloo-Karrinyup Parish Renewal retreat was held at St Dominic’s Catholic Primary School Hall on 12 September. Photo: Supplied.

More than 90 people attended a Parish Renewal Retreat held at Innaloo-Karrinyup Parish on 12 September, which was facilitated by Vicar General of Bunbury Diocese Father Tony Chiera.

Attendees came from various parishes across the Archdiocese of Perth, including Lesmurdie, Gosnells, Rossmoyne, Dianella, Bedford, Scarborough, City Beach, and Woodvale.

Held at St Dominic’s Catholic Primary School Hall in Innaloo, Parish Priest Fr Bernard Lanarolle said he was “delighted with the retreat”.

“[I am] grateful for the responses from both our parishioners and those of other parishes who attended,” Fr Lanarolle told The eRecord. 

“The retreat was everything we hoped and planned for in our parish. There was a sense of hope that permeated the day, and we trust that people were able to take that sense of hope back into their daily lives.

“Some people had not been on a retreat before and spoke positively about it. People were engaged and prayerful throughout. People had the chance to listen, reflect, and pray as well as share with others. There was a sense of enthusiasm and positivity at the end,” he added.

Vicar General of Bunbury Diocese Fr Tony Chiera facilitated the retreat, attended by more than 90 participants. Photo: Supplied.

Fr Lanarolle recalled one of the significant points Fr Chiera presented: “many are living in an ‘age of uncertainty’ that, unfortunately, can bring a growing fear and anxiety that have negatively impacted our lives”.

Fr Chiera also reminded the participants to have faith, he added, as it would enable them not to be imprisoned by fear through prayerful engagement with God and cultivation of a grateful heart.

Fr Lanarolle remarked that the overall feedback from the participants was positive.

“One participant described the experience as ‘manna from Heaven’, and people generally found the focus of the retreat relevant and meaningful for our troubled times. Some were in ‘awe’ of what they were hearing.”

Fr Lanarolle hopes to continue the tradition as a way of “uniting and renewing the parish in an ongoing way”.

“It is an opportunity for prayer and reflection in a world that is rapidly changing and allows people to ‘centre’ on God and on living out our faith today,” he continued.

Retreat participants came from various parishes of the Perth Archdiocese. Photo: Supplied.

Archdiocesan Parish Renewal Implementation Group Coordinator Fr Nino Vinciguerra was elated to know that Innaloo-Karrinyup Parish held a parish retreat.

“There are many reasons why a person will feel the need for a retreat but underlying them all is the need to reconnect with God and recommit to the life God wants us to live. Fr Tony Chiera is very gifted in faith formation and parish renewal,” Fr Vinciguerra said.

“A key strategy of parish renewal lies in the collaboration between parishes in our Archdiocese, by sharing their resources. Hence, I was also pleased to see the retreat opened to other parishes and that parishioners from seven other parishes participated in it.”

Fr Vinciguerra believes that “neighbouring” parishes need to be collaborative and inclusive with each other.

“We need to look out for each other, to be prepared to share and to learn from each other in any way possible,” Fr Vinciguerra added.

“Presently, the Archdiocesan Parish Renewal team is developing a new formation scheme for parish pastoral councils. Collaboration is a crucial aspect of the scheme, which we plan to roll out early next year.”