After a period of discernment and reflection, nine men and women have been appointed to a key advisory group to the Catholic Church in Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains.
The Diocesan Pastoral Council of the Diocese of Parramatta is pleased to introduce its new members: Mark Beard, Natalia Gabriel, Paul Harris, Tessie James, Sr Brenda Kennedy, Belle Reyes and Claire Thomas.
These members join with current members Bishop Vincent Long, Bishop of Parramatta (President), Padmi Pathinather (Chair), David Buckley, Mindy Mercado, Colleen-Ann Pillay and Kevin Wilson. Sr Catherine Slattery and Leo Tucker have been appointed to a second term.
The Council considers the pastoral questions of the day and makes appropriate recommendations to Bishop Vincent. This representative body was re-established in the diocese three years ago and has grown from strength to strength.
In 2021, the vision, mission and focus areas will be offered to the parish communities of Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains, to invite their own discernment and engagement, particularly within the Deanery Pastoral Councils.
The Diocesan Pastoral Council will be commissioned for its new term in early 2021, where a new executive will also be appointed.
Applications for new members of the Council were sought from across the Diocese in October 2020, as the three-year term of some of the original members neared conclusion.
In November, Bishop Vincent received 37 applications, a testament to the passion and commitment people have to our faith and to God’s mission.
Applicants were asked to share something of their personal background, the experience they offer, and their vision for the church at this time. In this way, Bishop Vincent was assisted in his discernment process as the Council seeks to be representative of the entire Body of Christ with respect to gender, age, ethnic background, experience, pastoral vision, and geographical location.
Members who had served their first three-year term were also invited to offer themselves for consideration for a second term. A few existing members chose not to apply for a second term or had previously resigned.
At the Council’s final meeting of the year on Saturday 21 November, Bishop Vincent welcomed the new members and farewelled the outgoing members, as the council reflected on the year that had been.
We give thanks to God for those who nominated for the Council, to everyone who has served and is leaving the Council, and for the members who enter a new term, in their ongoing desire to support our diocese to become the community that Christ calls us to be.
Richard McMahon is the Director of Pastoral Planning & Implementation for the Diocese of Parramatta.