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Maitland-Newcastle demonstrates "full and active participation of the faithful"

Last Saturday, about 350 lay, clergy and religious representatives from parishes, Church agencies and groups across the regional NSW Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle gathered for a Diocesan Assembly, entitled Towards the Dawn.

Online Catholics reports that the Diocese's Bishop Michael Malone told the opening of the Assembly: "Over the years we have made substantial progress towards becoming a more inclusive and collaborative Church. Perhaps at times we have taken two steps forward and one step back, but we can pride ourselves on going somewhere together."

In a report published today, Online Catholics describes Maitland-Newcastle Diocese as an "early adopter" of the vision of Vatican II, with its emphasis on the "full and active participation of the faithful".

Josephite Sister Patricia Egan, Diocesan Chancellor and Director of Pastoral Planning until recently, said that after the Church began to experience loss of participation in the wake of radical change after Vatican II, then Bishop Leo Clarke and his Council of Priests, made a commitment to pastoral planning in the spirit of Vatican II.

Twelve years on from the subsequent first Synod, Maitland-Newcastle has held four Diocesan assemblies, a series of regional assemblies and numerous other consultative forums at Diocesan, regional and parish levels.

Issues discussed included the "missing generations", shared responsibility and collaboration in ministry.

Sr Louise Gannon RSJ, Diocesan Assembly Co-ordinator, was upbeat in her comments to Online Catholics following the gathering.

"We prayed together, reflected theologically, listened to each other and sought to find the next step forward. At the end of the day Bishop Malone missioned all the participants to return to their communities to work to keep us all focused and facing Towards the Dawn. I think that's Good News!"

A follow-up session of the Diocesan Assembly will be held next May.

Maitland-Newcastle hears the voices of its people (Online Catholics 1/9/04)

Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle
Catholic community to gather at Booragul for Diocesan Assembly (Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle)
Pastoral Planning Timeline (1984 - 2003)

32 Sep 2004