Diocesan Assembly representatives gather in Wellington

More than 60 representatives from the Catholic Diocese of Bathurst gathered in Wellington on 23rd and 24th August 2019, for the annual Diocesan Pastoral Council Assembly. Members of the Council, the clergy, religious, seminarians and chairs of various diocesan councils joined with Bishop of Bathurst, Michael McKenna, in the geographical centre of the Diocese for the two-day gathering.

The Assembly is an opportunity for parishes from across the Diocese to share their experiences and learn from each other and presenters, to further grow their communities and help others in developing their faith. It was a wonderful opportunity to devise new initiatives for the Diocese, as well as to hear about what strategies and programs have been implemented recently.

In his welcome to the Assembly, Bishop McKenna said, “In its simplest form, the Diocesan Pastoral Council is here to help us find Jesus and to help others find Jesus. The Council enables the mission of the local church to be delivered in a practical manner”. 

The atmosphere was charged with energy, created by the positivity and optimism of those present. This was further encouraged by music provided by Deacon Kar1 Sinclair, Deacon Dong Van Nguyen, Youth Minister, Emily Bennett and seminarian, Duong Van Ha, with contemporary music and hymns fostering an ideal environment for the gathering.

A highlight of the Assembly was the input provided by guest presenter Lorraine McCarthy, from Alpha Australia. Her presentations were ‘How do missionary disciples reshape our parishes?’, ‘Let’s be daring in our parish’ and ‘What does this mean for tomorrow?’. Delegates were given practical and tangible direction to help improve their parishes and develop missionary communities.

On Friday evening, the Assembly Mass was concelebrated in St Patrick’s Church by Bishop Michael McKenna, Fr Carl Mackander, Parish Priest of Wellington, and other priests from across the Diocese

The assembly dinner was held at the Wellington Soldiers Club, where delegates listened to the inspiring story of Herb Smith, proud Wiradjuri man and Wellington local, who is the Founder and CEO of Dreamtime Tuka. His business produces biscuits, slices and chocolate coated macadamia nuts, using Indigenous spices and ingredients and now supplies large national corporations such as Qantas.

Saturday gave the Council members from each working group an opportunity to report on their activities, achievements and events for the past 12 months and to discuss what is planned for the coming period. The working groups are: Participation of Young Catholics, Participation of Indigenous Catholics, Worshipping God in Prayer and Sacrament, Hearing and Proclaiming the Word of God, The Domestic Church: Marriage and Families and Building a Community of Love and Service.

This was a wonderful time of sharing and discussion, and a chance to see how much good work is being currently carried out in the Diocese. Sr Patricia Powell, rsm congratulated the working groups on the inspiring projects and services that were discussed, “There is much proof in the room that we have many missionary disciples across the Diocese and I am quite encouraged by the level of energy and commitment to service that has been reported on today”.

The Assembly organising committee is very grateful to St Mary’s Catholic School staff and community for the use of their wonderful facilities and to all who contributed to the success of the two-day assembly.

Kimbalee Clews

More photos from the Assembly can be viewed on the Diocesean Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/cdobathurst/

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