What was the Diocesan Assembly all about?
Its aims are simply stated: to inspire and educate more Catholics to take up their share of the Church’s mission; and to begin building new structures of opportunity for service, worship and proclamation. The Pentecost weekend gathering (17th-19th May) was not an end, but a beginning.
The “headlines” for the Assembly were as follows:
- Hearing and Proclaiming the Word of God
- Worshipping God in Prayer and Sacraments
- Building a Community of Justice and Love
- Participation of Indigenous Catholics
- Participation of Young Catholics
- The Domestic Church: Marriages and Families
More details on these topics can be found here.
The preparation stages of our Assembly work were as follows:
Eastertide (31st March-17th May)
- Preparation sessions for parish representatives.
- Regional meetings with parish representatives and open to all the Catholic faithful of the Diocese. Five Regional Meetings were held throughout the Diocese.
- During this phase, with feedback from the Regional Meetings and from the Working Groups the Bishop called together for each topic, the six sets of outline questions were developed into more focused and specific Working Papers for the Pentecost Weekend Assembly.
Pentecost Gathering (17th-19th May)
This took place in Bathurst, hosted by the Cathedral parish, and comprise appoxiomately 240 participants. It began on the Friday evening and concluded on the Sunday afternoon. It involved sessions of prayer, input, discussion and opportunities to eat and drink together. Some of the sessions were with the whole Assembly, others were workshops of around 40 people each.
Before the weekend concluded, participants were asked to nominate people to form an Assembly Council, which will be appointed by the Bishop to assist him in carrying forward the work of the Assembly, and hopefully in preparing for a future Assembly. Details of nominations will be available shortly.
Having listened to what the Spirit is saying to us through the discussions of the Assembly, the Bishop will prepare a Pastoral Letter detailing policies and plans for the way ahead. The Assembly Council and the Council of Priests will help the Bishop in developing these policies.