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24 Sydney parishes to be twinned

Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, is urging priests to continue to be involved in discussions on the twinning of parishes so that new pastoral plans can be implemented as opportunities arise.

The Catholic Weekly reports that a total of 24 Sydney parishes are being considered for 'twinning' with other parishes to counter challenges facing the Church.

"There are no plans to close or suppress local communities," he said in his Advent pastoral letter.

"This restructuring will place additional burdens on some priests and parishes. No community wants to lose a resident priest.

"Therefore I ask all parish communities to rally behind their priests and support them and one another in everyway during the next challenge," Cardinal Pell added.

The practice has been used in rural and regional parishes for a long time, but has only recently made its way to the city. Already 14 groups of parishes have been partnered and other possible partnerships have been identified.

As the archdiocese faces significant challenges in the coming years, Cardinal Pell said they need to read the signs of the times. "Every age in the Church has faced challenges of faith, of expansion or decline, of social change, and our age is no exception.

"Our challenges are not met solely by our human efforts; we have promised Spirit of truth, our Advocate to be with us forever (Jn 14:17), guiding us into all the truth(Jn 16:13).

"Some see this as an archdiocesan pastoral plan, but it will not be a straitjacket; it will rely on free cooperation and participation and will respect the vast diversity in Sydney Catholic life," he said.

The Sydney plan follows an announcement about parish rationalisation in the Melbourne Archdiocese, which was published in the current issue of its Kairos newspaper and subsequently reported in CathNews and The Age.

24 [Archdiocese of Sydney] parishes to be twinned (Catholic Weekly 16/12/04)

Archdiocese of Sydney
Administering and Ministering: Putting Christ's Mission First (Cardinal Pell's address to the Catholic Administration Conference 24/10/04)

Pastoral plan for Archdiocese of Sydney (CathNews 2/11/04)

Catholic parishes to merge (The Age 15/12/04)