Report aims at renewal

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Bishop Anthony Randazzo with pastoral discernment project facilitator Patti Beattie. The project prepared by Ms Beattie will now be considered by Bishop Randazzo. It aims to drive revitalisation of Catholic communities on the Central Coast in the northern reaches of the Diocese. Photo: Supplied
Bishop Anthony Randazzo with pastoral discernment project facilitator Patti Beattie. The project prepared by Ms Beattie will now be considered by Bishop Randazzo. It aims to drive revitalisation of Catholic communities on the Central Coast in the northern reaches of the Diocese. Photo: Supplied

More than 1500 voices, 52 submissions and 12 months of hard work has culminated in the completion of a milestone report aimed at revitalising Catholic communities on the state’s Central Coast in the Diocese of Broken Bay.

The bold new Pastoral Discernment project was compiled in collaboration with clergy, parishioners, Catholic Schools Broken Bay, CatholicCare and other faith communities to ensure a sustainable and thriving Catholic community both in the present and into the future.

Launched by Bishop Anthony Randazzo in August, 2021, it involved the communities of Gosford, Wyoming, Terrigal, Warnervale, Wyong, The Entrance, Woy Woy Peninsula, Kincumber and Toukley-Lake Munmorah.

Throughout the consultative process, several major themes emerged around issues of inclusion and dialogue; youth; building a community and difficulties of the past and present.

Other areas also included for consideration was the need for pastoral assistance for families with children with special needs, high levels of domestic violence in the area, housing affordability and Diocesan support at Kariong Correctional Centre.

The framework of the project, completed as the diocese celebrates its 35-year anniversary, will now be used for discernment in other parishes within Broken Bay.

Project facilitator Patti Beattie said the area had been given a “unique and innovative opportunity” to journey together as pilgrims and missionaries for a “renewed proclamation of the Gospel, for evangelisation and catechesis”.

“It is our hope, that through this project, we continue to meet people and that they have the opportunity to encounter our living vibrant community of the church, with ongoing opportunities that change our life as well as everybody’s life that we encounter as we move forward.”

She said the actions borne from the pastoral discernment will bear fruits for generations to come. “It has been a long and joyful process which has given us great insight into the needs of Catholics here on the Central Coast,” she said.

“The framework and processes developed throughout the project enabled more than 1500 people to walk, listen and dialogue together, participating in a synodal journey,” she said.

“The Holy Spirit is doing marvellous things with and through us, and I am confident that the Holy Spirit will continue to lead us in what we’ve already initiated and to places that we’ve not yet thought of.

“It is our hope, that through this project, we continue to meet people and that they have the opportunity to encounter our living vibrant community of the church, with ongoing opportunities that change our life as well as everybody’s life that we encounter as we move forward.”

Bishop Anthony Randazzo said it had been an “extremely thorough and revealing project”.

“A number of extremely important themes have emerged which will help us develop our pastoral response in key areas for families in the Central Coast region,” he said.

“I also think this project will provide an extremely useful template for similar discernment in other areas of the Diocese.”

Subsequent to the Bishop’s response to the Report, a task group will be established for the implementation stage.