What is the Diocesan Assembly all about?
Its aims are simply stated: to inspire and educate more Catholics to take up their share of the Church’s mission; and to begin building new structures of opportunity for service, worship and proclamation. The Pentecost weekend gathering (17th-19th May) that we are preparing will be, not an end, but a beginning.
The “headlines” for the Assembly are as follows:
- Hearing and Proclaiming the Word of God
- Worshipping God in Prayer and Sacraments
- Building a Community of Justice and Love
- Participation of Indigenous Catholics
- Participation of Young Catholics
- The Domestic Church: Marriages and Families
The stages of our Assembly work are as follows:
Lent (13th February-30th March)
- Distribution of outline questions under each of the six headlines to parishes and other groups of the faithful in our Diocese. These questions are to get people thinking, talking and praying about the future of our local church. They may produce some initial answers, or some better questions. These can be fed into the process through your parish representatives.If you’d like to, you can see the outline question here.
The people of the Diocese are also able to make their contribution to the reflection on the outlines by emailing (remove XX) assembly XX @bathurst XX .catholic.org.au. Please include your name and address on your feedback.
- Selection of Parish Representatives to the Pentecost gathering.
- Setting up six working groups, under each of the headlines, to begin planning workshops at the Pentecost gathering.
Eastertide (31st March-17th May)
- Preparation sessions for parish representatives.
- Regional meetings with parish representatives and open to all the Catholic faithful of the Diocese. Work is underway to select suitable dates and venues for the meetings and these will be confirmed as soon as possible.
- During this phase, the six sets of outline questions will be developed into more focused and specific Working Papers.
Pentecost Gathering (17th-19th May)
This will take place in Bathurst, hosted by the Cathedral parish, and comprise 200-250 participants. It will begin on the Friday evening and conclude on the Sunday afternoon. It will involve sessions of prayer, input, discussion and opportunities to eat and drink together. Some of the sessions will be with the whole Assembly, others will be workshops of around 40 people each.
Before the weekend concludes, participants will be asked to nominate people to form an Assembly Council, which will be appointed by the Bishop to assist him in carrying forward the work. A detailed program is being prepared.
Having listened to what the Spirit is saying to us through the discussions of the Assembly, the Bishop will prepare a Pastoral Letter detailing policies and plans for the way ahead. The Assembly Council and the Council of Priests will help the Bishop in developing these policies.
If all goes well, our hope is to hold such a gathering every two or three years. It will be the task of the Assembly Council to assist in its design and preparation.