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Listen, observe, respond


In the continuing series on the Interim Diocesan Pastoral Council, we asked Rachele Tullio and Stephen Bampton about their involvement in the Church, why they nominated to be on the Council and their hopes for the future.

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Rachele Tullio, 62,
APRIM at St Augustine’s Parish School, Salisbury
Henley Beach parish

For as long as I can remember, I have always been involved in a parish. As a youngster, I attended St Joseph’s Primary School in Thebarton. It was with the Sisters of St Joseph that my real relationship with God started. I recall how much I loved learning about God, Jesus and all the saints through them. In later years, I was involved in Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church at Henley Beach. I became a teacher and only ever wanted to teach in a Catholic school.

After marriage and four children, my involvement in parish life grew. Fr John Rate msc invited my husband and I to be part of the baptismal preparation team. My other involvements have been in the annual Passion play on Good Friday, the RCIA program, sacramental coordinator, lector and welcomer.  More recently, I have attended the very popular Alpha and Holy Spirit programs; both kept me in touch with people on a spiritual journey.

I recall seeing the invitation to nominate for the Diocesan Pastoral Council (DPC). Initially, I thought: ‘I have too much to do’. But the thought wouldn’t go away. God’s quiet voice is often persistent. I decided to wait until the 11th hour to apply because I wanted to discern God’s voice in it all. I believe that the Holy Spirit speaks to our hearts and I am grateful I waited to apply.  I have often heard people talk about the Church in loving and in not so loving ways and have always felt a pang of sorrow when they leave the Church due to some circumstance.  I miss their presence, whether they are in my own parish or from other parishes. Therefore, I nominated to be a member of the DPC so that I could be in dialogue with people.  All people. And reach out to them.

I hope to be a good listener. I hope that I can reflect back to people a sense of care and commitment to them. As a group, I hope we will be able to discern and pray together so that our collective spirit brings fresh ideas and new life to the Church and to open up the channels of discussion that may be an impediment for some.

The role of the DPC is very important in shaping the future of the Archdiocese. It is a voice that listens first and speaks second.  But it does this through prayer and collaboration as a group. We have met a few times and I am very impressed with how we have sought to reinvigorate some of our processes and structures. I am very excited about the future.

One of the challenges is to distil what God is asking of us in this time, in this place and space. What stirs us? What is discerned as a way forward? We are tasked to listen, observe and respond. I see the challenge of reaching out to those who have left the Church. I also see the challenge of evangelising younger generations. How this will look and feel is also in partnership with the Holy Spirit. Therefore, prayer is a big component of the DPC. I pray that as we look to the future, God is walking beside us, being our faith compass.


Stephen Bampton, 39,
Public sector governance professional

St Ann’s parish, Seacombe Gardens

With the exception of a few years away working I have lived within and been an active member of the Adelaide Archdiocese all my life. I grew up in the parish of the Nativity at Aberfoyle Park and after returning to Adelaide moved to St Ann’s parish, Seacombe Gardens. From early in life my faith has been a core part of my identity and I deeply believe that parish and diocesan life more broadly have played roles in shaping both my youth and the person I am today.

One of the roles of the DPC is to provide advice to the Archbishop and Archdiocese leadership about how to support the needs of parishioners. I believe the many perspectives I bring – developed through involvement with multiple parishes, Catholic education and movements that seek to support faith life outside of Mass – provide me with valuable insights to assist the work of the Council.

I have felt a deep connection with the discernment processes used by the Plenary Council and the Diocesan Assembly. As a member of the DPC I hope to support the development of a culture that champions this process and through doing so, seeks to hear all voices including those at the margins of both our community and individual debates. Collectively, I hope the DPC can harness the vibrancy of the ideas put forward during the Plenary Council and Diocesan Assembly, into actual outcomes that can work in partnership and alignment with the day to day governance and rich traditions of our faith.

The reinstitution of an advisory council is timely given the background of local, national and international gatherings and represents an effective structure through which to reflect on how the clergy and faithful can work together in partnership to lead the Church into the future. In my view, the importance of the DPC will ultimately be determined by its ability to listen, represent people effectively and over time deliver specific outcomes.

The challenges facing the Church today (both locally and globally) are many and can sometimes feel overwhelming, particularly in the face of criticisms that can appear to come from every corner. Yet despite this I remain optimistic. The Catholic community of Adelaide is part of a Church that has been in existence for almost two millennia and in that time faced and overcome many difficulties. Guided by the Holy Spirit, I believe we must support our Church leaders to read the signs of the times and translate them into a much needed message of faith, hope and above all, love.


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