Our Consultation Process
Faith in Our Future represents the culmination of one of the largest consultation processes undertaken in the Diocese of Parramatta. Over a period of eighteen months, feedback and advice was gathered from parishes in Rydalmere to Blackheath, from Kenthurst to Granville.
Written and online submissions were also received throughout the process, in addition to feedback from our migrant communities, deaneries, school communities and parent groups.
In late 2011, parish pastoral councils were asked for their initial response to potential pastoral priorities for the future of the Diocese. Five priorities emerged that would frame the consultation process: family life, youth, ethnic diversity, laity and clergy, and the mission of evangelisation.
In February 2012, the parish consultation process was launched by Bishop Anthony with a DVD, pastoral message and a Diocesan Information Guide which provided an up-to-date profile of the life and ministries of the Parramatta Diocese, contemporary trends in our region as well as demographic, Mass attendance and clergy statistics. You can read the launch document here.
In the following months, over 30 consultations events were held throughout the Diocese. Summaries of these consultations were published online, in the Catholic Outlook and sent to participating parishes and clergy. These summaries are available to read here.
In September 2012, an interim report was published which shared the major insights and feedback gathered from our parish communities to date. You can read the summary report here.
Religious institutes and ecclesial and youth movements were also invited to submit their feedback on the five pastoral priorities of the Diocese.
From October 2012, the insights from the parish consultations were shared with our clergy as well as our diocesan agencies for their response. In light of public feedback and identified needs and potential, these agencies (CatholicCare, Catholic Education Office, Office for Worship, etc.) proposed a number of recommendations for consideration by the Bishop and Consultors.
Beginning in 2013, a number of parish-specific goals and actions were also developed drawing on the consultation feedback as well as research into best practices for community growth and evangelisation from Australia and overseas.
In May 2013, public feedback was invited on these draft parish goals. You can read the draft parish goals and invitation to individuals, ministry groups and parish pastoral councils for their response here.
In June 2013, the priests and deacons of the Diocese were briefed on potential initiatives of our agencies and the draft parish goals and actions in development.
In November 2013, a further consultation session was held with leaders and delegates of religious institutes and congregations working or living within the Diocese. Briefing sessions were also held for lay leaders, parish pastoral council members and welcome teams about the developing vision, initiatives and support structures for the developing Pastoral Plan.
In February 2014, our Diocesan Pastoral Plan was launched in our parishes and online, with a DVD message from Bishop Anthony along with 8,000 copies of the full version of the Pastoral Plan distributed to clergy, parish teams and parish ministry groups, and 50,000 copies of a summary version distributed through the Catholic Outlook to all parishes and school families. Both versions of the Pastoral Plan are available on this website.