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Steering a synodal caravan


Last year I wrote an article for The Southern Cross that likened synodality to a family road trip. These days, I’m thinking about synodality more like a caravan of several families on a road trip together.

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Our past two Diocesan Assemblies, the Plenary Council and the 2023-24 global Synod have given us new guidance and energy for this shared journey. In the Archdiocese, this has resulted in several initiatives, such as the Regional Assemblies, the Diocesan Pastoral Council and the Pastoral Services Team, which will keep us moving steadily forward.

Regional Assemblies

Planning teams representing every corner of the Archdiocese have started preparing the Regional Assemblies. The Assemblies are a continuation of the 2021 and 2022 Diocesan Assemblies and involve a greater number of people at the local level in participation, communion and mission.

There will be nine Regional Assemblies held over the next 12 months and will offer people in parishes, communities and schools an opportunity to engage in mutual listening, developing responses to shared needs, and collaboration for missionary action by reflecting on the question, ‘What are we being called to do to participate in the mission of God in this time and place?’

More information is available at Details about each assembly will be shared as information becomes available.

Parish Pastoral Councils

It’s important to recognise that many parishes, schools and communities have already been hard at work developing responses to the Diocesan Assembly recommendations.

Parish Pastoral Councils have been a significant expression of this collaborative and co-responsible leadership.

However, many PPC members have requested support and formation in this style of leadership.

On April 19, the Archdiocese gathered PPC chairpersons and parish priests for an evening of networking, formation and information sharing.

Participants were able to reflect on the model of leadership Pope Francis is calling us to participate in, and they heard from chair of the Diocesan Pastoral Council, Monica Conway; the Diocesan Pastoral Services Team and Archbishop O’Regan.

It is our intention to hold these gatherings twice a year.

Pastoral Services Team

The development of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Services Team (PST) is another response to the Diocesan Assemblies. Under the leadership of director for Pastoral Life and Mission, Sarah Moffatt, and assistant director, Peter Bierer, the PST is a reorienting of several existing diocesan pastoral ministries and offices to reflect the pastoral priorities of the Diocesan Assemblies: Community Life and Worship; Justice Healing and Inclusion; Formation for Missionary Discipleship; Formation for Missionary Leaders; Events and Resources; Accompaniment, Engagement and Outreach.

Three recent appointments have been announced (these roles are a re-working of previous or existing positions and have not added any new staffing costs to the Archdiocese):

Dr Simone Brosig, Pastoral Leader: Community Life and Worship – Dr Brosig, an experienced liturgist and formator, will begin in September after migrating from Canada. This appointment will follow the retirement of Dr Jenny O’Brien, Office for Worship, in July.

James Lloyd, Pastoral Leader: Justice Healing and Inclusion –  Mr Lloyd has been the APRIM at St Pius X Catholic School in Dernancourt for several years. He will lead the team responsible for justice, ecology, multicultural services, inclusion and healing.

Dale Oria, Pastoral Support: Resource Development – This role is a response to the Diocesan Assembly recommendations requesting extra communication and resources from the Archdiocese. Mr Oria has many years’ experience and qualifications in graphic design and communications strategy.

There are several vehicles in this ‘synodal caravan’ in the Archdiocese, but I am confident that they are all headed in the same direction.

Peter Bierer is assistant director, Pastoral Life and Mission


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