Here’s an excerpt from our interview with Harvey Catholic Church, whose leader Father Jess Navarra and his team, build their health and vitality through initiatives such as this.

Read the conversation below.

NCLS: If you were to encourage other churches by your own experiences, what have you learned in the last few years that has made a difference to the flourishing of your parish?

JN: I do believe that as a priest whenever you move to a new parish, don’t change anything yet.  Don’t change anything even though things are not working well, just leave it as it is.  Because I do believe that in a parish generally when a priest has been moved, there’s a form of a grieving and loss in terms of life of the parish, the parishioners, for them it’s the priest is a part of their family life.  The parish life.

 And then the priest has to move after six years.  I do believe that I have to really respect that space.  Therefore, I don’t initiate change in the first three months or so.  That’s my approach really. 

And then at the same time, able to really establish relationship, because relationship is a vital point, because that relationship also will generate trust and confidence.  Eventually I earn their trust and confidence because of that established relationship. 

And of course, the first three, four months it’s just a matter of really establishing what’s the parish profile.  And then always approach and ask and consult the key leaders of the parish.  By doing that, you are really reinforcing that they are the ones who are what we call, the leaders of the parish, are now being recognised, acknowledged by the new priest. 

So, you could see therefore it will generate some form of empowerment on their part.  They feel that they are vital components of the leadership of the parish.  That’s one of those strategies that I engage with and I do believe that those are the key factors that I could see in the parish’s healthy approach in terms of leadership in collaboratively working together. 

I do believe in that.

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