Diocesan leaders of evangelisation gather

The successes and challenges of making Christ known in dioceses across Australia was one of the main topics discussed at the recent online gathering of diocesan directors of evangelisation. Archbishop Christopher Prowse, chair of the Bishops Commission for Evangelisation, Laity and Ministry (BCELM) welcomed the diocesan leaders and opened a space for the sharing of ideas and discernment about what matters could be considered as part of an ongoing consultation.

Evangelisation ConsultationThe February 8 gathering was facilitated by the BCELM, including the teams that makeup this commission, namely, the National Centre for Evangelisation (NCE) and the Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office (ACMRO). As well as providing an opportunity for networking, participants were provided with information regarding the mandates of the BCELM and its associated teams. The directors were also asked to discern the format of a proposed evangelisation leader’s conference.

From the small group sharings several themes emerged, some of which are listed below.

  • There is great diversity within, and between our dioceses. For example, geographical location, access to resources, a variety of cultures, expressions of faith and priorities. This diversity brings with it challenges, but also opportunities for innovative evangelisation strategies.
  • How can dioceses continue to harness the positive learnings from the Australian Plenary Council and the Synod on Synodality?
  • Many dioceses are going through restructuring and planning for the future. How can dioceses balance governance issues, such as safeguarding and risk management and the pre-eminent task of evangelisation?
  • How can dioceses use digital technologies to the best effect, especially in a secular environment which can often be hostile to the Church.
  • Where are the good news evangelisation stories – how can they be shared?
  • How to best address the aging demographic of Church attendees as well as the needs of young people?
  • How do dioceses develop a greater love for the Eucharist among their people?

Archbishop Prowse provided some general observations to the evangelisation leaders after hearing their feedback from the small groups. He said:

“The charism of docility, that is your ability to be teachable, humble and not arrogant was very much present in today’s gathering. You also display the charism of courage, showing great dedication and determination to go forward.”

The archbishop encouraged the leaders to explore the Evangelisation statement published by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, and to use this document to guide their endeavours. He also reminded participants that while we can spend a lot of time “making Catholics better Catholics” we must not neglect to proclaim the kerygma to the whole world. Finally, he expressed his hope that the “synodal way” will dominate the way in which evangelisation is undertaken and that the vision of the Australian Plenary Council and the Synod on Synodality would be embraced.

At the close of the consultation several participants expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to gather and network and the hope that this would be an ongoing initiative. To this end, the BCELM plans to gather the diocesan leaders again in the future.


Words: Sharon Brewer

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