The Deanery Pastoral Councils of the Diocese of Parramatta have been established for almost two years. Two representatives from each parish are invited to join the Council, enhancing communication and collaboration across parish, deanery and diocesan levels.
Recently, I caught up with Carol Teodori from the Mountains Deanery Pastoral Council and asked about her experience of being on the Council.
Lisa Bright: Can you share your experience of the Deanery Pastoral Council in the beginning? How have you grown as a group?
Carol Teodori: The invitation to be on the Deanery Pastoral Council has truly been an education for me.
I have been in ministry in the Church most of my life, teaching in “the Downstairs Church” (Where I came from, the basement of the Church was usually where we worked.) To be asked to help with the Council was an awesome opportunity to share my love for the People of God and my experiences in community.
The first meetings were very well planned and always offered more opportunity to understand the full responsibility given us. The staff and Bishop Vincent were so gracious and created an atmosphere of welcome. With each meeting, we grew in understanding of the seriousness of the task and what was being entrusted to us.
LB: What has been a highlight of the Deanery Pastoral Council?
CT: One of my pure delights is to have folks around our table, so I invited our meetings to be held at our house, since we are at the half-way point in the [Blue] Mountains. We have grown to be friends in the course of almost two years. That has been one of the highlights for me, growing in friendship and trust with our team.
LB: What do you think is the mission of the Deanery Pastoral Council?
CT: I think our mission is to work with the priests and staff in the Mountains to find what the charism of each parish so that we can work together in designing our mission. If we each could define our charism, we wouldn’t have to duplicate youth programs for example.
LB: What have been some of the challenges the Council has faced?
CT: The challenges have been having the Dean of our Council come to our meetings. Maybe it would be better to have a joint deanery meeting with the priests. We all have the same goal of enabling the work of the Spirit in our parishes. Why be separate?
LB: What exciting things has the Mountains Deanery Pastoral Council got coming up?
CT: Our next big event is our Deanery Forum on November 24 at St Thomas School Hall in Springwood, from 2pm to 4:30pm. We are working on that event now at our meetings. The next new event for us will be our Christmas party, inviting our families to join us. The date and location are yet to be announced.
Thank you Carol for sharing your experience of the Deanery Pastoral Council. To find out about the work your Deanery Pastoral Council is doing, ask your Parish Pastoral Council or Parish Team to introduce you to your parish representatives.
Lisa Bright is a Project Officer in the Pastoral Planning Office, Diocese of Parramatta.