Pastoral Planning for the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta

Our Diocese

diocesan mapThe Catholic Diocese of Parramatta is a community of disciples seeking to grow and share its faith with the people of Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains. Centred in Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit, we are a community of faith nurtured by Word and sacrament and sent to live Christ’s message in our daily lives.

Evangelising, bringing the Gospel to people who have never known Christ and bringing it anew to those who should know Him better, is the key to the future of our Diocese.

Our Diocese recently celebrated its silver anniversary, having been created by Blessed John Paul II on 8 April 1986. Our Diocese includes some of the oldest parishes in Australia, including Parramatta (1827), Windsor (1832) and Penrith (1839), as well as some of the newest, including Glenmore Park (2004) and Rouse Hill (2007). Some parishes have several churches. We have 47 parishes so far with new parishes, churches and schools yet to build.

Our parishes are grouped into seven deaneries (Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury, Hills, Holroyd, Nepean, and Parramatta) while the average size of our parishes is 6,700 Catholics.

As of the 2011 national census, we are a Diocese of some 332,000 Catholics out of a general population of around 1.1 million. This means that almost one in three of those living in our area are Catholic – far more than the national average of 25.3%.

One-quarter of the Catholics in our Diocese were born overseas in a non-English speaking country (25.5%) and more than a quarter of our Catholics speak a language other than English at home (28.4%). There are about 5,000 Aboriginal Catholics in the Diocese, the largest urban concentration of Indigenous Catholics in Australia.

Our Diocese is youthful by Australian standards. Almost one-third of Parramatta Catholics are under 19 years old. Our median age is 35.1, compared to the national average of 38 years of age. We have around 80 active youth groups and ministries and growing participation in World Youth Days and other youth activities.

Families are crucial for the transmission of life, faith, values and vocations throughout our Diocese and beyond. In the 2011 Census, we have 91,750 two-parent Catholic families (with at least one parent Catholic) and 15,634 single-parent families (with parent Catholic).

Our largest growth areas include Marsden Park, Riverstone, Schofields, Rouse Hill and Box Hill.

p9 centre picThe 2011 Mass Count reveals that our Diocese has a Mass attendance rate of 15.2%. This means that about 1 in 7 Catholics within our Diocese attend Mass on any given weekend. That is better than the rate in many parts of the country and better than in some other countries.

But it still means that 6 out of 7 Catholics are not at Mass on any particular Sunday and many of those practice only one or twice a year. Mass attendances vary considerably across the Diocese and between ethnic groups.

Our 56 primary and 22 secondary systemic schools teach some 43,000 students and employ 4,500 staff. We also have three congregational schools and two PARED schools within the Diocese. Parish priests and principals work collaboratively to ensure the mission of Catholic education in the Diocese is realised through pastoral care, sacramental and liturgical celebrations as well as shared management of school sites in our schools.

The Parramatta Diocese also includes a number of agencies and ministries which support the life and mission of our parishes and people. Our Chancery includes finance, property and parish support, communications office and audit team, while others services include a Commission for Ecumenism and Interfaith Dialogue, the Institute for Mission, a Marriage Tribunal, Clergy Health Coordinator, Professional Standards among others listed on this website.

There are also 16 migrant chaplaincies which serve the needs of different communities and there are chaplains for Aboriginal Catholic Services, aged care, the Coptic community, hospitals, police and prison services, universities and colleges.

We enact our faith through works of justice including CatholicCare Social Services to support people, relationships and communities in the spirit of Christ while the St Vincent de Paul Society and other centres and programs of care in the Diocese express the commitment of our Church to the needs of the poor, disadvantaged and homeless.

The life of our Diocese is also enriched and shaped by at least 52 religious institutes and congregations who bring a variety of charisms and apostolates to our common mission to grow and share faith. Through faith and life groups such as the Legion of Mary, the Couples for Christ and Christian Meditation communities among others, our people also benefit from various opportunities for prayer, fellowship and faith renewal.

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