Advisory Council heralds new era for Centacare
Centacare Catholic Family Services Advisory Council has met officially for the first time, heralding a new era for the organisation.
The Council brings together six members and a consultant from diverse backgrounds including law, education, child protection, social work, ministry, academia and Aboriginal spirituality.
The purpose of the Advisory Council is to highlight Centacare’s mission and identity within the Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide, and to forge deeper connections with clergy, parishes, Catholic Education South Australia and other Archdiocesan services.
Lawyer Claire Victory has been appointed as the inaugural chair of the Council.
Formerly national president of St Vincent de Paul Society National Council, Ms Victory is currently director of Industrial Policy and Practice at Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (SA). She is joined by Council members:
- Kelly Bunyon, principal, Compass Catholic Community
- Sophie Diamandi, adjunct lecturer, University of South Australia
- Carl Collins, executive director, Child Protection Solutions Australia
- Fr Dean Marin, Vicar General, Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide
- Professor Ian Goodwin-Smith, director, Centre for Social Impact at Flinders University
John Lochowiak will be a consultant to the group. After nearly 10 years at Centacare, Mr Lochowiak recently stepped down from his role as manager of Aboriginal Services to join the South Australian Aboriginal Building & Civil Construction Academy, which is part of Aboriginal business enterprise RAWsa.
Mr Lochowiak led a Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony beside St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral to begin the Council’s inaugural meeting on March 15 at Centacare’s Wakefield Street site.
In her welcome address, Centacare executive director Leanne Haddad said she looked forward to the journey ahead with the Council.
“It is all about ensuring Centacare is connected to mission and our Catholic Social Teachings, and we absolutely are, but there is always room for strengthening and working with our valued partners,” she said.
Ms Haddad presented an overview of Centacare’s governance, corporate restructure and service delivery, and spoke about today’s competitive nature of tendering for innovative community services.
She highlighted the need to balance Centacare’s humility with growing awareness about its role on the streets, and the many ways “Centacare is bringing the Church into community”.
Deputy executive director Pauline Connelly introduced the Council to key services and spoke about Centacare’s approach to protecting client stories and confidentiality at all cost.
Ms Victory provided insight into the Catholic Archdiocese’s synodal journey, initiated by Pope Francis, and the process of listening, sharing and “the importance of all parts of church and lay, religious and clerical people journeying together and being involved in discussions and decision-making”.
“The Church in Australia is largely about caring about those around us, caring for our neighbours and going out into the peripheries, not just in service to people but actually including people and different peoples’ voices around the table,” she said.
Ms Victory added the Council would act as an advisory body “to make sure that the directors are listening to some diverse voices” to ensure services remain true to Centacare’s mission and values.
Adelaide Archbishop Patrick O’Regan welcomed the establishment of the Advisory Council.
“It is another element that assists greatly in Centacare’s mission and its continued ability to ‘bring Good News to the Poor’ (Luke 4:18),” he said.
“May God continue to bless its work and make it fruitful.”
In 2022, Centacare marked 80 years supporting South Australians. The social and community welfare arm of the Archdiocese, Centacare engages about 30,000 clients annually through more than 60 services across 31 sites in metropolitan and regional South Australia.
The Council will next meet in June.Jump to next article