The final networking day for the year took place in Raymond Terrace recently and some 28 people attended. The day was planned by members of the Parish Assistance Unit (PAU), Kim Bruce and Danny Egan, whose duties extended even to washing up!
The diocese has committed resources, through the PAU, to improve financial management and associated reporting, and to assist parishes in meeting compliance obligations. The staff gatherings also provide opportunities for sharing of experiences, fellowship and encouragement.
Participant M’Liss Kerr of Cessnock said, “The Parish Assistance Unit supports parishes and parish secretaries. Over the past couple of years, it has provided support with the implementation of the Padre and Zero systems.
“During the training days that the Unit has provided, the parish secretaries have also enjoyed the opportunity to get to know and meet one another, enjoy the fellowship of the day and the company of other secretaries who know the many difficulties and concerns that we all face day to day.”
The program at Raymond Terrace serves as a good example of the scope of the links which are created between parishesand the diocese through the PAU. ‘Money matters’ were addressed, with training in programs that support parish administration by Finance and Administration and Catholic Development Fund staff. Director of the Office of Life and Faith, John Donnelly, presented “Becoming a Disciple” – The Sacraments of Initiation Policy, and guest Rod Matthews led a vibrant Change and Time Management workshop.
The day was punctuated by time for refreshments and conversation and there was great conviviality.
Vice Chancellor Finance and Administration, Sean Scanlon, said that as matters such as compliance and workplace health and safety become more demanding, the diocese, through the PAU, is “stepping up to support those who keep our parishes running on a day to day basis, so that communities feel supported and parish priests and administrators have confidence that all requirements are being fulfilled.
“The PAU is also a ‘go to’ for any questions or concerns that can’t be addressed within the parish. Parish priests and parish staff are welcome to phone Kim or Danny at any time.”