On the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, new members of the Diocesan Pastoral Council and the six Deanery Pastoral Councils of the Diocese of Parramatta were commissioned by Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta. The new members were joined by their fellow council members in receiving a blessing of their ministry during Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta.
The religious and lay men and women who are appointed to these councils provide a representation of parishioners’ perspectives which are considered as part of the decision-making processes within the Diocese.
“These representatives of the faithful will work collaboratively with me, community leaders and other governing bodies in order to bring about the vision of the Church in mission, walking humbly, listening deeply and serving lovingly,” Bishop Vincent said in his homily.
“Let us go forward in our mission to actualise God’s plan for a shared destiny of hope, communion and life for all, confident of the victory of Christ and his promise to be with us until the end of time.”
During the Blessing, Bishop Vincent described being called to serve on the Deanery and Diocesan Pastoral Councils as “important work in our community” and prayed that the council members serve with Christ-like faith, hope and love.
“Your duty is to foster the pastoral activity of our deaneries, and at a diocesan level, to help all of us grow in faithfulness to the Gospel, to be the disciples of Christ that we are called to be,” he said.
“You have been chosen to share your insights with one another, your pastors and the whole Catholic community for the wellbeing of our parishes and the building up of the Kingdom of God.”
New Diocesan Council member Dominic Dawson, a parishioner of St Nicholas of Myra Parish, Penrith, explained to Catholic Outlook that it was a joyous and fulfilling occasion to have been commissioned by the Bishop.
“To be called to mission in this way is a great blessing,” he said.
“It is a great privilege to have been nominated and to be accepted as a member of the Council.
“As a member of the Council, I am expecting to have open dialogue and discussion on a range of themes that are relevant to the Diocese, such as creating aspects of a welcoming community, enhancing our faith and engaging children and young people. I hope that we can also influence some of the ethical conversations that have been recently taking place in our community and that we as a Church can contribute to them.
“I am looking forward to serve on the Council and contribute to the wonderful work that the team is doing.”
Beverley Rutledge, a parishioner of Mary Immaculate Parish, Quakers Hill and new member of the Central West Deanery hopes that by accepting the nomination to be on the council, she will be joined by more parishioners.
“I see the role of the Deanery itself as being very supportive of the parishes and it gives us some idea of what other parishes are doing that we can share and adapt in our own parishes,” she explained.
“I hope to grow more in my knowledge of how the Diocese itself works. I’m hoping that I can take things back to my parish from other parishes and to see that we are not isolated as a parish, that we are part of the many cogs that form the Diocese.
“I hope that through my participation in the Deanery that we can transmit our parish support into a greater communications channel to-and-fro between us and the Diocese, and that we are supportive of the aims and objectives of Bishop Vincent.”
John Jordan from Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Seven Hills, says that he hopes to “make full use of all my gifts and experience” as a new member of the Diocesan Pastoral Council.
“The Diocesan Pastoral Council, approved and set up by Bishop Vincent, will be shown to be an extremely important body in the future of the Diocese of Parramatta, as it allows members of the laity to have direct contact with the Bishop, and this will help him decide on future projects,” he explained.
“My hope for the Council is to see the Diocese of Parramatta flowering under the guidance of Bishop Vincent and to join with the members of the council to help implement his hopes for the Diocese.
“I have been blessed by the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in my life. I hope that by being commissioned and blessed by Bishop Vincent will result in further inspiration from the feast of the Blessed Trinity which we have just celebrated together.”
The Diocesan Pastoral Council and the Deanery Pastoral Councils work closely with the Pastoral Formation team of the Diocese’s Mission Enhancement Team (MET) to implement the mission and vision of Bishop Vincent.
You can find a range of formation resources for Diocesan, Deanery and Parish pastoral councils by visiting https://pfparra.org.au/#pastoralcouncils.
View images from the Commissioning Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta, here or below.