The end of October is upon us with the weather heating up and the drought still with us. The barrenness of some of our countryside was evident to me as I drove around much of our diocese in the past week, continuing my visit to parishes in order to speak with parish leaders and some of the members of their advisory councils, about the Plenary Council’s listening and discernment process, and our own Diocesan Synod, as well as other areas of pastoral life.
Once again I write this message on a Sunday evening and I am conscious that on this, the 20th Day of October, it is World Mission Day in this Extraordinary Mission Month, which was proclaimed by Pope Francis for the centenary of the promulgation of the Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud by Pope Benedict XV, on the activity of missionaries in the world.
Almost 23 per cent of Australia’s population identified as Catholics in the 2016 census. There are about 1.3 billion Catholics in the world. So, would your coming to the Diocesan Synod on Saturday, 23 November really make any difference to how we live our lives in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle as Catholics, and would that make a difference to our local communities, the life of Australians or indeed the global community?
Thanks to Helen Belcher for her message to you last week about the Plenary Council and our own Diocesan Synod. I trust by now that you are aware of both, and are keen to be involved. Some of our parishes are inviting people to engage in the Plenary Council Listening and Discernment process before Christmas, while others are going to wait until February. It is important that as many of you as possible respond to the process at a national, diocesan and parish level. We are attempting to ‘Listen to what the Spirit is saying’.
The Journey, a Catholic Program, is broadcast each Sunday night on Rhema FM 99.7 at 6.30pm. It is a work of the Diocese of Wollongong, undertaken in partnership with Pulse 94.1FM Wollongong, and aired on a growing number of Christian radio stations around Australia.