Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP has announced the launch of the Sydney Centre for Evangelisation to support parishes in their mission at a time of “unexpected challenges and also new opportunity” to witness to Christ and the Gospel.
The new centre, based at the Liverpool Street offices of the Archdiocese of Sydney, will build and extend on the work of the archdiocese’s Evangelisation Project which has been led Bishop Richard Umbers and the Parish 2020 pastoral planning project.
It will be led by the current director of Parish 2020 Daniel Ang.
“I have decided to combine Parish 2020 and the Evangelisation Project into the new Sydney Centre for Evangelisation, absorbing and extending the good work of both these agencies,” said Archbishop Fisher in a statement to staff on 9 June.
“This integration will support the renewal of our parishes in their mission to provide the people of Sydney with new opportunities to encounter Christ,” he added.
“The Centre will deliver greater integration between the spiritual and structural dimensions of our life as an Archdiocese, enable increased support for our parishes in their resourcing for mission, and will include the establishment of a new parish renewal team to implement our developing Archdiocese Mission Plan.”
Mr Ang said that bringing together the needs of parishes as revealed by Parish 2020 and the support the new centre will provide will place the archdiocese “in good stead to renew together our commitment to place the encounter with Jesus Christ at the heart of all our endeavours”.
“The Centre will give expression to that commitment by ensuring the practical support of our parishes and their people as they carry out Christ’s mission in their local communities,” he said. “We live in an age when there are more people to reach than have been reached.
“We have great scope and desire to increase the practical support of local communities in their focus on being and making disciples, in their mission to constantly evangelise the hearts of parishioners, invite baptised Catholics back into active involvement in the Church, and reach out to those who do not yet know Christ and that their home is with us.”
The Centre will create new partnerships to provide practical support to parishes and communities in their mission, with further announcements to be made which will engage the spiritual needs of a changing city and suburbs to the benefit of our local communities, Mr Ang added.
“We live in an age when there are more people to reach than have been reached.”
“As Catholics we believe the full life of every person and community can be unlocked only by this encounter with Christ, by Jesus who is encountered through the prayer and worship, the sacramental life, Christian witness and conviction, through our parishes and other communities of faith, and by the bold proclamation of Christ’s love and plan for each person.
“These are the forms of encounter that lie at the heart of evangelisation and will shape the life and commitments of the Centre in the years to come.”
Bishop Umbers will continue to work closely with Mr Ang and his team as the Episcopal Vicar for Evangelisation.
Soon after his 2014 installation, Archbishop Fisher initiated the Parish 2020 five-year pastoral planning project with the goal of examining the situation and mission of the Archdiocese, and the structures that can best support new approaches to evangelisation and renewal of Sydney’s communities of faith.
That process, and a review of the progress to date, will lead to the release of the Archdiocesan Mission Plan in the coming months.