Within each Diocese the Bishop has the possibility to join together several neighbouring parishes into special groups called deaneries. In our Diocese we have a number of Deaneries, based on geographical criteria: Mountain, Western, Central, Hills and Eastern Deaneries. Each Deanery has a priest who is appointed as Dean. His duties within wide and variable. Among them he attends to the following:
- Promotion and coordination of the common pastoral activity within the deanery;
- Seeing that the clerics of the deanery lead a life in harmony with their state in life and perform their duties with diligence;
- Seeing that religious functions follow Church norms;
- Seeing that the good appearance of churches and sacred furnishings are maintained;
- Seeing that parish books are correctly managed;
- Seeing that the parish rectory is well maintained;
- Seeing that clerics, following the norms of the diocese and the norms of Canon 272, attend theological lectures, meetings, or conferences;
- Making sure that the priests of the deanery have access to spiritual helps and aid in difficult pastoral circumstances; and
- Making sure that pastors in his deanery are well cared for when they are sick or dying.
- Canon 555 also particularly mentions that a dean must visit the parishes of the district in accord with the regulations made by the diocesan bishop.
The Eastern Deanery comprises of the following parishes: Cathedral parish, North Parramatta, Dundas Valley, Westmead, Merrylands, Slovene Community Merrylands, Guildford, Rydalmere, Harris Park, Granville, East Granville as well as the retired clergy living in the Deanery and the Camillian Order (Hospital Ministry).
Our Deanery meets six time a year (usually the third Tuesday of the month) every second month beginning in February, at the Cathedral Parish.
Each meeting begins with a prayer session based on the Gospel for the following Sunday, then we have a formational section, followed by agenda items that deal with pastoral needs. We conclude the gathering with lunch at the Cathedral House. Members and representative of various Diocesan services and ministries are usually invited to address the Deanery meeting to inform the priests about their services.
In all, the Deanery meetings become a sure way of engendering communion, fraternity and communication among the priests within the Deanery. Although we set aside dates for our gatherings during the year, it can be difficult for all priests within the Deanery to attend the meetings, as some of them can have unforeseen events come up, such as funerals and other pastoral matters.
Nonetheless, we still have the meetings as those who attend find the exchange of information, the chance to share ideas and the opportunity to dine together a great experience.