The Southern Cross The Southern Cross

Read the latest edition. Latest edition

Transforming from the inside


In our continuing series on the Interim Diocesan Pastoral Council, we asked Georgia Steller and Tony Roach about their involvement in the Church, why they nominated to be on the Council and their hopes for the future.

Comments Print article

Georgia Steller, 32
Mission and Identity coordinator, Cabra Dominican College,
Glenelg parish

Since graduating from Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College in Alice Springs, I have actively sought to work with the Church. This vocation has seen me hold various positions including youth minister for the Marist youth ministry program, youth representative on the Alice Springs Parish Council, Religious Education teacher, and now my current role at Cabra Dominican College, Mission and Identity coordinator. Being Catholic is in my blood and I cannot imagine not being a part of this community, not just personally, but also professionally.

You know that feeling you get in your gut; that one that won’t go away until you do the thing you’re being called to do? That feeling is why I nominated to be a member of the Diocesan Pastoral Council (DPC).

For as long as I can remember, I have felt the call of God; I recognise it as that gut feeling. This call has more often than not taken my life in a completely new direction, challenging me to go beyond what I thought I was capable of. Late last year, I was lucky enough to attend the 2021 Diocesan Assembly. When it was announced at this gathering that expressions of interest for the new DPC were open, that gut feeling came on hard and fast. I knew that this was God tapping me on the shoulder, as God tends to do. So there was nothing to do but put in my application.

When having a recent discussion with my sister about who we feel most comfortable around, who ‘our people’ are, my response was immediate: ‘the Catholics’. Any time I find myself in any manner of Catholic community, I feel like I am home.

I see my life as being one of gratitude, service and genuine happiness; I know that this did not just happen by chance. My life is what it is because I have experienced firsthand the life-changing love of God. I also know that in our current social climate, the life I have is a rare one, especially for young people.

At the ripe old age of 32, I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself to be ‘young’, but when I look around the congregation on a Sunday morning, I realise that in the Catholic context, I am as youthful as they come.

This is the reason I feel called to be a member of the DPC: I am here to represent the young people; I am here to be a part of the change that transforms our Church into one that gives young people every opportunity to feel the sense of home that I know, by having every chance possible to know God.

I recently heard a talk given by Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen and what he said took my breath away. He said that the Church is at a critical junction in our history, a junction that calls for transformation, not restoration. We must reimagine our way of ‘being Church’ in the modern world.

This revelation both terrifies and empowers me.

It would be easy for me to sit back and let those around me do the hard work that is going to be required to transform and build our future Church, but I simply cannot do this. The words a colleague once shared with me sit in the forefront of my mind: ‘You cannot make change from the outside’.

I love my Church and I love what it has done and continues to do for me. Being Catholic is a core part of my identity and the Church has been key in the shaping of my life. This is why I believe that it is not just the DPC that is important in shaping the future of our Archdiocese: every single one of us is important because if you wish to see change, you must be a part of it.


Tony Roach, 61
Mission and Membership general manager, St Vincent de Paul Society

Emmaus parish

I have been an active parishioner in the Emmaus parish over the past 18 years. During this time I have been special minister, commentator and was the inaugural Emmaus Outreach coordinator at Holy Cross Church Goodwood for four years. I am the current St Vincent de Paul Society Goodwood Conference president. My partner Jan and I have been members of Teams since 1998 and are currently the Adelaide Southern Sector couple.

Over the past 25 years I have been actively working in social justice activities, initially for seven years as Diocesan director of Caritas Australia and for the past 18 years at St Vincent de Paul Society. Roles at the Society have included Fred’s Van coordinator, executive officer Frederic Ozanam Housing Association (now Amelie Housing Company) and I am currently general manager, Mission and Membership.

I believe the key task of the DPC is to work with the Archbishop and Archdiocesan leaders to ensure the summary of recommendations from the Diocesan Assembly are prioritised and that work commences on addressing them. These recommendations fall under the themes of: a Church that responds to the cry of the Earth, cry of the poor; leadership and leadership formation; outreach and accompaniment of children, families and young people; inclusion and healing; faith formation and spiritual development; and parish life and liturgy.

The future of the Church is a model which provides a greater role for the laity and in particular women. The Diocesan Assembly delegates clearly identified that the Archdiocese needed to provide greater leadership roles for women.

One of my main concerns that we need to grapple with as a Church is how we engage the 90 per cent of Catholics who are not regular Mass attenders. We need to find ways to communicate the wonderful Catholic Social teachings of Pope Francis through encyclicals such as Laudato Si’ to the broader society which I believe are very relevant but little known outside a small number of Catholics.

I believe the DPC provides a great opportunity to play a leading role in developing a more inclusive Church, enabling all who love the Church to work towards bringing about change. As Pope Francis said in his general audience at the Vatican on
February 16:

‘Let us ask ourselves if, in our hearts, we love the Church. The people of God on a journey, with many limitations but with a great desire to serve and love God. In fact, only love makes us capable of speaking the truth fully, in a non-partisan way; of saying what is wrong, but also of recognising all the goodness and holiness that are present in her, starting precisely with Jesus and Mary.

Loving the Church, safeguarding the Church and walking with the Church. But the Church is not that little group that is close to the priest and commands everyone, no. The Church is everyone, everyone. On the journey. Safeguarding one another, looking out for each other.’


Show comments Hide comments
Will my comment be published? Read the guidelines.

More People stories

Loading next article