The work of the Diocesan Assembly continues...

Our first Diocesan Assembly has been a great gift in the Year of Grace. Not only in the Bathurst gathering, but in the months of preparation and consultation that preceded it, we have learnt valuable lessons about where repairs and renovations are needed as we rebuild God’s house, his local Church. The work of the Assembly continues.

We are right at the beginning of this work: and the plan to have another gathering in two or three years’ time will provide the framework for how we continue. Once the Assembly Council is operating, I will consult it and the Council of Priests about specific ideas that emerged over the Pentecost weekend. We also have to discuss the dreams that are still vague and the questions that so far have no practical answers. I plan to issue a Pastoral Letter then on August 8th, the Solemnity of St. Mary of the Cross MacKillop.

I said on Pentecost Sunday that our work must always keep in mind why Christ founded his Church and called us into her life. It is that He might be known and loved by all people. That, in Him, God might be worshipped in spirit and truth. That the fullness of life He offers might be received by us and communicated to the world. Our pastoral planning is only a means to this end. It will bear fruit only if it is at the service of our God-given mission.

Twelve months ago, I had hoped that we would be further advanced on the road of renewal and rebuilding than we seem to be. Our work in planning the Assembly revealed that there is foundational work in the parishes that must be attended to before moving ahead.

However, my hope that the Pentecost weekend would be a real moment of communion and joy in the Spirit, was answered. It is important for the Church to have these moments of gathering, where we discover that following Christ is not a solitary journey, but one we must make together, or not at all.

Like St. Francis of Assisi, who answered that call “rebuild my Church” eight centuries ago, our task begins in prayer. It is only through prayer that we learn what our task is. The Year of Grace has been about the awareness that we are in the presence of God, who looks at us in love, who speaks to our hearts, who waits for our Yes.

“One plants, another waters, but God gives the increase”.

Our Lady of the Central West, St. Patrick and St. Mary of the Cross, pray for us!

+ Michael McKenna
Bishop of Bathurst



You can access photos of the Assembly, by Amy Grima Photography and Clare Lewis, at:

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