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Participants have their say


For the Saturday session of the 2022 Diocesan Assembly, participants were assigned to one of six workshop themes comprising three rounds of discussion: theological foundations, practical applications and examples, and planning for action. We asked a member of each workshop to share their insights.

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Binh Nguyen

A clear message has been agreed that the Church needs more laity engaging in ministry but the issues are (a) most people are willing to volunteer to do the work but not the laity leadership due to being afraid of criticism, (b) people have a lack of understanding of the mission of the Church and (c) in many cases, people do not choose the ministry but the work chooses people. Another message coming out from this workshop was let’s be inclusive, let’s break down the barrier and call for more participation. The beauty of this Assembly was at the end of the day everyone has come up with a mission of their own and brought it home. I really enjoyed every moment, it was a lifetime experience in attending both Diocesan Assemblies 2021 and 2022 as I could hear, see, and witness the happening of our Diocesan synod journey.  Binh Nguyen – Leadership and Leadership Formation


Cascia Smailes

A key message was that faith formation isn’t just education, it must be a change in your heart. God’s love and spirit need to be poured into our own hearts before we can overflow His love into other people’s lives, so we must reach inward before outward, not only as an individual, but as a parish, we must know God ourselves so we can introduce him to others. In every person at the Assembly, I could see God’s love and they were proof that our Church is a people, not a building or a concept, but a community of individuals living out faith together. The Assembly emphasised action and a simple action we are all capable of is love, by letting all that you do be done in love, you are doing all with God.  Cascia Smailes – Faith Formation and Spiritual Development



Kavitha Hapuarachchi

The first workshop explained the theological foundations relating to community/parish life and mission. It was beautifully presented on some things that we think is so simple and take for granted, for example, the sign of the cross, saying ‘AMEN’, how these are an important and integral part of us! We learnt that WE ARE the body of Christ, baptised and the ‘ecclesia of God’! How to be people of service. What are the changes called for? How do we emulate that we are a welcoming community? Panellists in round two brought a lot of ideas and wisdom to the workshop. There were many valuable experiences and ideas shared in relation to community engagement. In round three we were able to ponder and reflect on the previous workshops and ideas that we have come across. Small group discussions to share ideas then get-together with others who had similar ideas to discuss the topics further and set goals and create an action plan for our own parish community.  Kavitha Hapuarachchi – Parish Life and Liturgy


Mary-Anne Quinn

The Assembly was a great chance to connect and reconnect with colleagues and started well on the Friday evening with a real sense of the Holy Spirit present. The Saturday workshops offered a mixture of inspiration and frustration. The panel members in my workshop were wonderful and offered new and motivating ideas from their own personal context. The small discussion groups needed leadership and guidance, and the planning priorities and goals were difficult to formulate among the many splintered opinions and priorities expressed. There was the ever-recurring theme of reaching out to those who are on the margins of society, as Jesus did, without any clear definition of who those people are today, or any reference to the fact that Jesus also said “Come, follow me” and nurtured his disciples. Mary-Anne Quinn – Outreach and Accompaniment of Young People


Steven Moss

Peter Gates from Catholic Mission set the tone for the following day’s work-shops by talking about ‘synodality’, which means journeying together, and ‘agency’, the ability to be able to make a difference, to be empowered to act, and to contribute, no matter how small. We were encouraged to mentally create space for the Holy Spirit to guide our discernment during the assembly. The approach to discussing the assembly themes was methodical and well developed, starting with reflecting on what the Bible and encyclical teachings are that bear on the matter, followed with pragmatic suggestions about things that can be done to make a difference in people’s lives and how to formulate these ideas into concrete action plans. Steven Moss – A Church that responds to the Cry of the Poor and Cry of the Earth



Hannah Smailes

I gained a much deeper understanding of the amount of people who feel neglected by the Church because we consciously make them invisible. It was empowering to speak with the young people and be reminded that we truly are the Church – something that really resonated with our Inclusion and Healing group as it really is up to each and every one of us to turn the tide on inclusion. Inclusion is not a box that we can tick overnight with a policy. It is something much more human: a warm smile, a hand reaching out, an invitation extended, or simply starting an empowering conversation. The Assembly was a huge wake-up call that it is up to every one of us to go out there and really actively reach out – we can’t keep waiting on ‘the Church’ when the Church really is us. My highlight was having fruitful discussions within our small groups. I think part of what made these conversations so fulfilling was the fact that, despite our varying positions and levels of connection to Catholicism, we were all on an equal level and received the right to be heard.  Hannah Smailes – Inclusion and Healing



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