Sarah Moffatt and John Lochowiak (above), together with 12 others from around Australia, have accepted an appointment to the Plenary Council Executive Committee. Ms Moffatt is the assistant director to chancellor Heather Carey and Mr Lochowiak is the manager of Aboriginal Services at Centacare Catholic Family Services.
The Bishops Commission said the appointments to the committee followed an “extensive confidential process of consultation” across the Australian Church to “ensure diversity”.
“Together they bring a variety of gifts, competencies and experience to the work of the Executive Committee,” the commission said.
The committee will work closely with the commission to ensure the successful preparation, celebration and implementation of the Plenary Council 2020.
The Plenary Council is a response to the call of Saint Pope John Paul II that the Church of the third millennium discerns what the Spirit has been saying and to put into practice pastoral plans, with the help of the people of God, to prepare for the future. It also carries forward the call of Pope Francis for the Church to become truly synodal in its engagement with the whole Catholic community. Archbishop Mark Coleridge, who is chair of the Bishops Commission, said the Plenary Council would play a crucial role in shaping the Church’s future in Australia.
“This is no time for the Church to be putting up signs that say ‘business as usual’. If we needed any proof, then the Royal Commission has shown that.
“We need to face the facts, and in the light of the facts, which aren’t always friendly, we have to make big decisions about the future. The Plenary Council will place the Church on a sound footing to respond to what is not merely an era of change but a change of era,” he said.
Joining Ms Moffatt and Mr Lochowiak on the Executive Committee are: Mr Daniel Ang, Broken Bay Diocese; Mr Shayne Bennett, Brisbane; Br Ian Cribb SJ, Broken Bay; Dr Gemma Cruz, Melbourne; Sr Moya Hanlen FDNSC, Sydney; Ms Sally Hood, Brisbane; Dr Brigid McKenna, Hobart; Sr Grace Roclawska CSFN, Parramatta; Rev Dr Ormond Rush, Townsville; Dr Debra Sayce, Perth; Mrs Theresa Simon, Sydney (Maronite Church); Dr Nigel Zimmerman, Parramatta.
Members of the Bishops Commission for the Plenary Council include Archbishop Coleridge, Archbishop Philip Wilson, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB, Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFMConv and Bishop Michael Kennedy.