On the weekend of the 12th-14th of February the Passionist Family Groups National Directors Lynn and Rob Hill and Diocesan Directors from around the country gathered at the Home of Compassion in Island Bay for their annual PFGM Directors meeting facilitated by Fr Brian Traynor CP from Melbourne, Australia. Over the course of the weekend our Regional Teams and Support/Resource people gathered with us.

By gathering together we were able to share our interest of not only keeping the PFGM Movement alive, but looking at ways for it to grow and renew.

As a group we were able to discuss and exchange ideas and resources and develop ongoing relationships, giving us inspiration and hope for the future of PFG’s in Aotearoa.

Fr Brian announced that after twenty-five years as National Directors, Lynn and Rob Hill had decided to retire from this role from June 30th this year. Being committed Passionist Companions, they will continue to be involved with the PFGM in their parish and assist with their regional team as needed.

Following a period of discernment it has been decided that Mary-Ellen and John Leen from Wellington and Linda and Paul Darbyshire from Palmerston North will take up the national role on July 1st. They will be officially commissioned on August 28th. Both couples have had extensive experience in leadership within the Movement and will continue to exercise the role of Director for their own diocese. There was a feeling of sadness among those present as well as a sense of awe at the incredible ministry Lynn and Rob have exercised over these years. There is enthusiasm about the new leadership team and a sense of appreciation at the mentoring and succession planning that has been going on in recent years.

Over the weekend we were reminded that the Movement is about the people and that we must continue to ensure there is annual Formation for those involed and ongoing support for the Parishes and that we keep the basic aims and goals of the Movement in the forefront of everyone’s thinking:-

To love one another

To live and love like the early Christians

To give example to and involve our children in Christian sharing

To build and promote community within the Parish

To support one another in times of need and celebration

We reminded ourselves of the importance of continuing to help our parish communities to grow in the current times when many parishes are facing amalgamations and re-establishment of boundaries. It became clear that each diocese is making changes and that many parishes are struggling with these changes.

Passionist Family Groups are about groups of people in a parish getting to know each better by social interaction on a regular basis. By getting to know one another they begin to love, support and care for one another, enabling one other to practice practical Christian spirituality and contribute to growing and building stronger faith communities.

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