Workshop summary: "We and our neighbourhoods" (November 21, 24 and 25, 2020)

 This text presents a summary of the conversation that happened during the "We and our neighbourhoods" workshops that took place virtually November 21, 24 and 25, 2020.

This workshop, which was originally part of the synodal process, was opened to all Catholics in the diocese. Despite the postponing of the synodal process, Archbishop Paul-André Durocher and the pastoral team wished to continue the dialogue in order to discern together paths for the future.

In this workshop, we discerned the sufferings that exist in our neighbourhoods and reflected on how we can individually and through our parish community make a difference to alleviate these sufferings.


1)     The 10 words that came out the most to describe "the suffering that exists in our neighbourhoods’’  in this time of pandemic: 

Solitude-Stress-Fear-Isolation-Anxiety-Depression-Poverty-Concerns about the future-Loss of meaning-Impossibility of seeing loved ones.


2)     The 10 words that came out the most to describe "the suffering that exists in our neighbourhoods" in ordinary times: 

Poverty -Solitude-Unemployment-Isolation-Loss of meaning-Employment precarity-Stress-Divisions-Lack of welcoming towards immigrants-Sickness-Cost of houses.


3)     How could our parish teams better know the needs of people suffering in their neighbourhoods or villages? 

·       Use the phone and modern means of communication

·       Keep in touch with people you know, listen to them and encourage them

·       Having a pastoral team. This will allow us to look together for ways to meet people and learn about the surrounding suffering.

·       Regularly distribute a questionnaire to parishioners

·       Resume parish home visits

·       Let yourself be led by the Holy Spirit

·       Get involved in our communities and ask organizations (Catholic or non-Catholic) that work in the community

·       Ask the resource persons who reside in our community

·       Have diocesan programs such as for the 65 and over to listen to them to provide support

·       Through our personal contacts in our neighborhood or in the church

·       Just pay attention to the world around us: observe and listen

·       Create new friendships with the people around us and listen

·       Create lines of communication to know people's needs


4)     How can I personally alleviate the suffering of my environment? 

·       Through our personal contacts, a smile, a hello.

·       Participating in projects in our community. Our small contribution can make a big difference.

·       Visiting people in my neighbourhood who are in need

·       Improving the way we welcome others: being persistent and persevering in welcoming others

·       Welcoming and letting ourselves be questioned by what comes to us in everyday life

·       Keeping in touch with people who are suffering.

·       Making known what sufferings I observe in my neighbourhood

·       Being nice to others

·       Going out just to be with people in the neighbourhood

·       Making regular calls to the lonely or people who are grieving

·       Setting up a call system

·       Praying for people in need (e.g., daily rosary)

·       Offering spiritual support and accompaniment on video or by phone

·       Sending Christmas cards to those who have had a sacrament in the past year (e.g., baptism, confirmation, funeral)

·       Listening to young people as well as the elderly.

·       Do not think of oneself as saviors which would lead to exhaustion physically and morally.

·       Becoming a mentor to someone

·       Valuing everyone's contribution, no matter how small; everyone is important

·       Replacing hugs with words we write (e.g., Christmas cards)

·       Doing groceries for people for whom it's difficult

·       Developing the reflex to ask "how have you been since...?"

·       Helping without imposing

·       Feeding ourselves from the Word

·       Cooking for others, offering small treats

·       Donating to organizations

·       Knowing the resources and community organizations around us to refer people to the right place

·       Staying in touch with my family

·       Talking to others about God on zoom or the Internet

·       Spreading hope around us

·       Being a witness to Christ


5)     How could my Christian community alleviate the suffering of my environment? 

·       Sharing the information the Parish has about the suffering in the community on a Facebook page or in the bulletin to keep people informed

·       Having a Parish committee

·       Not try to do everything but focus on one or two projects

·       Offering spaces to movements and community organizations

·       Offer great hospitality during Masses

·       Thinking about needs that are not reached especially those of the homeless

·       Helping people talk to each other and know each other during our celebrations despite the social distance

·       Inviting resource persons

·       Referring to government resources so as not to try to do everything ourselves

·       Making Christ known to those who need hope

·       Working with other Christian denominations

·       Setting up a real welcoming for those in need in the parish

·       Doing outreach work for the Christian community

·       Setting up a committee of intercessors to pray for the needs of the community

·       Working with other organizations that seek to alleviate the suffering of our community, such as food banks, neighbourhood homes and other non-profit organizations.

·       Helping non-profit organizations.

·       Encouraging people to pray for those who are suffering

·       Using creativity to fill gaps in the distribution of Christmas hampers, for example: organizing personal visits by distributing gift certificates, etc.

·       Accompanying and supporting families

·       Discerning the gifts present in our parish to better involve parishioners

·       Finding the right way to console others

·       Finding ways to spiritually support young adults who are experiencing anxiety

·       Going to homes to bring snacks

·       Having an up-to-date list of community organizations to collaborate with them or simply refer to those who are suffering.

·       Welcoming people with special needs into the Christian community and teaching them skills, no matter how basic they may be.

·       Inviting community groups to speak in the parish to make their services known.

·       Evangelizing and giving our Faith testimony

·       Getting organized and creating clear processes in order to be able to move projects forward

·       Advocating to the government the needs of our neighbourhoods

·       Publicly acknowledging volunteers who are involved in good works outside the parish.


6)     With what community organizations could my Christian community work together to make a difference in the lives of people who suffer in my community or village? 

·       St. Vincent de Paul

·       Friends of The North of the Little Nation

·       The Food Bank

·       Ottawa Harvest

·       The Knights of Columbus

·       The Health Co-op

·       A.A.

·       L’Arche

·       Immigrant Associations

·       Other Christian Churches

·       Association of Christian Businessmen

·       The family home

·       Scouts

·       Le CLSC

·       Soup kitchens

·       Snowmobilers' associations, motorcyclists, etc., to help with fundraisers

·       Ottawa Association of Single-Parent and Recomposed Families

For a list of community organizations in the Outaouais:

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