Diocesan Assembly Council Meet

The Diocesan Assembly Council met for a day of Prayer and Reflection at Shaolm, House of Prayer, Carcoar on Saturday 26th July 2014.

Recently Lorna Nicholson has resigned from her position as Ministries Co-ordinator and also from the Council. Lucy Bryant has also recently resigned from the Council due to work commitments which see her move from the Diocese.

Attending the day with Bishop McKenna were Council members: Peta Bischof, Bec Devitt, Marianne Matthews, Charlie O'Mahony, Mark Williams, Nea Worrell, Sr Alice Sullivan, Jenny Allen, Tony Eviston, Robert George and Fiona Lewis. The Diocesan Financial Administrator, Patrick Cooper, was also in attendance at this meeting.

The Bishop has recently appointed Father Mark McGuigan to be be the liaison person between the DAC and the Council of Priests and he was also able to join the group on Saturday. Apologies were received from David Nelson, Peter Manning and Geoff Mann.

Nick and Fran Hansen and Kate Hansen, from the House of Prayer, joined the members at prayer times during the day and provided music for the liturgies.

This is a report of the meeting from Marianne Matthews in Mudgee.....

We gathered on a clear and beautiful day in the peace of Shalom at Carcoar. This was an opportunity to meet each other again and discuss the progress of the work of the Assembly Council.

The consensus was that we had made a slow and somewhat unsteady start! The meeting allowed us to have some time to really think and nut out exactly what it means to be a member of the Council.  We were able to confirm three areas of our work:

  • To establish and maintain communication with the parishes and diocesan organisations, so that the Council and the Bishop are well informed of developments and difficulties in the Assembly process and that parishes and organisations are similarly well informed and contributing to diocesan pastoral planning;
  • To discuss, evaluate and advise the Bishop on practical proposals for implementation and future planning, according to the Assembly’s six themes of pastoral renewal; and
  • To plan for timing and shape of a second Diocesan Assembly.

It was great to be able to understand the scope of the work … albeit a little daunting!

We were able to spend some time looking at the six themes from the Assembly working on goals and options for moving forward.  These options will be explored further in the coming months.

The great outcome from the Assembly is the continued growth of Word and Faith Groups in our parishes. The members of the Assembly have committed to fostering these groups and facilitating the growth of groups in our areas.  A simple ‘postcard’ was available for us to use in our parishes. The card outlines this very simple approach to prayer.

Our day was built around what Bishop Michael called ‘pools of prayer’… these times are essential for reflections and prayer and were much valued by all council members.

Always on our discussion list is ways to encourage all Catholics to participate in the life of the Parish. The arrangements in our parishes change as the availability of priests changes. These circumstances can bring challenges but also opportunities for a renewal of responsibility and faith.  The council discussed the various ways that we can support not only Bishop Michael but also, our priests.

Some early discussion about the form of a second gathering was undertaken. This gathering would occur next year in the sesquicentenary of the Bathurst Diocese.  Time marches on so quickly that we will need to start planning now! Various models and ideas were presented and will indeed be followed up in the next weeks.

Many thanks to Shalom for their hospitality and warm welcome to the House of Prayer.

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