“What is the mood really like in the communities?”

Hildesheim Cathedral © Emily Wabitsch

The diocese of Hildesheim has been promoting "local church development" for a year now. To that end, the Rev. Christian Hennecke, director of the Department of Pastoral Care, has now visited 62 parishes, or just over half of the 119 parishes in the diocese.

Together with speaker Christiane Mubig, Father Hennecke spoke to about 2.000 people on the question of how local church life could be shaped in the future. The visits will continue through April. Experiences and information about the next dates provides a separate homepage.

"For us, visits and direct contact are the best way to hear from each other and get a sense of what the mood in the parishes and communities really is," Hennecke said. The level of knowledge about the concept of local church development still varies widely among parishes, he said.

Believers take responsibility themselves

In some places, the pastoral guiding idea of the diocese is already being implemented. In other parishes, skepticism and the preservation of existing structures are in the foreground, he said. "Many are worried because there are fewer priests and parish forms that have existed until now are dissolving," said the pastoral director of the Hildesheim diocese. This is how insecurity arises. There is particularly strong support for the concept in places where the faithful themselves take responsibility and are creatively involved in local church and social life. The role of full-time staff will also change, he said.

According to the diocese, the concept of "local church development" relies on Catholics who get involved in their local communities because they feel called to do so as baptized and confirmed Christians. How church life "is concretely shaped by them depends on local conditions, which are different in a city district, for example, than in a village," according to the diocese of. This included outreach to the local community and new forms of worship and spirituality. Priests, deacons and full-time pastoral staff are to support the concept in the parishes.

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