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Council of Priests

Each Diocese is intended to have a Council of Priests. This body acts as a kind of ‘senate’ to the Bishop, assisting him in the governance of the Diocese. Members of the Council are representatives of all priests who are incardinated or ministering in the Diocese, elected by  them and appointed by the Bishop.

The Council is designed to give expression to that special relationship that exists theologically between the Bishop and his priests, a relationship that is both sacramental and fraternal.

The Bishop is obliged to consult the Council of Priests on matters of importance and in certain specific instances outlined in Canon Law.

This Council is the primary source of counsel to the Bishop, so that the pastoral welfare of the Diocese might be effectively promoted. The current Council of Priests for the Diocese of Bathurst comprises:

Appointed by the Bishop (ex-officio)

  • Very Rev Paul Devitt – Vicar General (Episcopal Vicar for Education), Chair
  • Very Rev Greg Kennedy – (Episcopal Vicar for Clergy)

Members elected by the Presbyterium

  • Fr Owen Gibbons
  • Fr Reynold Jaboneta
  • Fr Greg Bellamy, Secretary (Episcopal Vicar for Evangelisation and Mission)
  • Fr Dong Van Nguyen


Members appointed by the Bishop

  • Very Rev Paul Devitt – Vicar General (Episcopal Vicar for Education)
  • Very Rev Greg Kennedy – Episcopal Vicar for Clergy
  • Fr Owen Gibbons
  • Fr Reynold Jaboneta
  • Fr Greg Bellamy (Episcopal Vicar for Evangelisation and Mission)

Diocesan Catholic Education Council

The Diocesan Catholic Education Council (DCEC) is the Bishop’s chief advisory body for developing policies in this important work of the Catholic Diocese of Bathurst. The Council’s role includes oversight of the systemic school system in the Diocese, as well as of the catechesis of Catholic children and young people more generally.

Members are appointed by the Bishop and bring to their task a wide range of expertise in education, theology, law and management, as well as their lived experience as Catholics and, in many cases, parents.

The Council also has a sub-committee for Religious Education and Catholic Identity (RECI).

Current members:

  • Very Rev Paul Devitt VG (Episcopal Vicar for Education) – President
  • Mr Patrick Cooper, Diocesan Financial Administrator – ex-officio
  • Deacon Joshua Clayton – a member of the RECI sub-committee
  • Mr Paul Crennan, Chair – Bathurst
  • Mr Mike Crowley – Orange
  • Mr Paul Mann – Gilgandra
  • Mr Ken Bryant – Kiama
  • Dr Beverley Moriarty – Dubbo
  • Mr Peter Turner – Miranda

The Executive Director of Schools, Mrs Christina Trimble, also attends meetings of the Council.

Chancery Office, 118 Keppel Street, Bathurst NSW 2795
Phone: (02) 6334 6400
Fax: (02) 6331 8465

All mail should be addressed to:
The Chair, Catholic Education Council, PO Box 246, Bathurst NSW 2795

Diocesan Finance Council

The Diocesan Finance Council (DFC) is the primary consultative body to the Bishop on financial and administrative matters. Its role is to advise the Bishop on the administration of the temporal goods of the Diocese.

Council members are appointed by the Bishop. They are a diverse group of people with skills and expertise in finance, accounting, investment and law. The Council has a Sub-committee which has responsibility for our Catholic Development Fund.

Current members of the Council:

  • Very Rev Paul Devitt (Vicar General) – Ex-officio
  • Very Rev Greg Kennedy (Episcopal Vicar for Clergy) – Ex-officio
  • Mr Patrick Cooper (Diocesan Financial Administrator) – Ex Officio
  • Dr Saranne Cooke (Chair) – Bathurst
  • Mr David Cooke (Chair – CDF Sub-committee) – Bathurst
  • Ms Yolanda Coote – Bathurst
  • Mrs Bernadette Denman – Bathurst
  • Mr Mathew Dickerson – Dubbo
  • Mr Stephen Flynn – Mudgee
  • Mr Paul Morrison – Bathurst
  • Mr David Andrews

Diocesan Pastoral Council

The Diocesan Pastoral Council is an advisory body to Bishop McKenna on pastoral matters, aiming to improve and ensure the sustainability of the Diocese’s future. Its six workgroups, established by the Bishop, include:

  • Hearing and Proclaiming the Word of God
  • Worshipping God in Prayer and Sacrament
  • Building a Community of Love and Service
  • Participation of Indigenous Catholics
  • Participation of Young Catholics
  • The Domestic Church: Marriage and Families

These six groups work together to progress matters in our Diocese that concern their particular apostolate and each reports to the Bishop. Each group has a Convenor and these six people meet regularly with the Bishop and ex-officio members, forming a Steering Committee.

The Diocesan Assembly is usually the annual gathering of all members of the DPC; with the real work of the Council happening in the workgroups during the year.

DPC Working Groups

Hearing and Proclaiming the Word of God

This is so much more than reading at Mass, though we have begun and will continue to build on the calling and formation of people carrying out this important ministry.

It is more basically about helping everyone to access and receive the Word of God that comes to us in the Scriptures and the teaching of the Church. The “Word and Faith” groups started after the last Assembly were a first attempt to do that, but much more needs to be done.

In other words, it is about evangelisation, our basic mission. It involves how we hand on the faith in our own schools, in government schools, in sacramental programs and in inviting people and giving good quality formation to them in the RCIA.

Worshipping God in Prayer and Sacrament

We have important work to do ensuring that our parish, school and other liturgies (especially, but not only, the Mass) are of the highest quality, in communion with the Church, that we can manage.

Liturgy is prayer and its true quality comes out of the relationship with Christ that we bring to it as individuals and a community. Formation in personal and family prayer and the availability of good retreats is a vital part of nourishing that relationship.

Building a Community of Love and Service

We cannot become Christians on our own. We need one another to share our journeys of faith, especially when the road becomes rocky.

Part of that sharing is cooperating in works of service and promotion of justice for people inside and outside the Church, meeting Christ in those who suffer or are excluded.

This cooperation has to be practical and attentive to caring for the temporal needs of our parishes, our diocese and the wider Church.

Indigenous Catholics

Thirty years ago in Alice Springs, Pope St John Paul II said to aboriginal peoples that “the Church in Australia will not be fully the Church that Jesus wants her to be until you have made your contribution to her life and until that contribution has been joyfully received by others.”

These words resonate today and are at the heart of our aspirations. We have begun to make good connections already in our local church, of mutual benefit, in our schools and the work of Centacare, as well as in some parishes.

Marriage and Family

The renewal of the domestic church must be at the heart of renewal of our community of faith. If we could do that, how many withered branches in the Church would begin to bud with life again!

A deeper understanding of Christian marriage, through early catechesis of our young people, as well as enhanced preparation for weddings; and ongoing formation and support for married couples, is needed.

We also need to help families come together for prayer and scriptural reading in the home, and link them to participation in the life of Word, Sacrament and Service of their local parish.

Young Catholics

The years of adolescence and young adulthood are crucial for most people: and set directions for basic life choices. They are also years of great openness to new ideas and possibilities, of great capacity for generosity and adventure. In that way, they are vulnerable to false promises, but hungry for truth.

We fail as disciples of Christ if we ignore them and their needs; and we are diminished as a church without their contribution to our common life.

Our efforts to connect have been bearing fruit: especially as we develop this ministry more and more in collaboration with our schools.

Find out more

For more information about the Diocesan Pastoral Council, please contact the Executive Secretary, Jacinta Thatcher via email at