The priests, deacons, and sisters of the Eparchy of Ss Peter and Paul gathered for a clergy conference in Melbourne from 5th to 9th December 2016. Twenty five attended from every parish in Australia and New Zealand.
The structure of the meeting was the same as usual. Every day started with a Divine Liturgy, a homily, and the office of hours at noon. Each day was divided into four sessions. Three meals were provided each day.
This year’s conference was organized by the cathedral administrator, Fr. Brian Kelty. The program contained a variety of elements, information, discussions, planning, reflection, and decision making. The meeting was another opportunity for all the clergy to rededicate themselves to their vocation from Jesus Christ.
The discussions in particular were very lively. They led to an understanding of our mission to the church in this region of the world.
The meeting was another opportunity for all the clergy to rededicate themselves to their vocation from Jesus Christ.
Bishop Peter led the first day. His presentation was in two parts. The first was a review of the recent Synod of Ukrainian Catholic Bishops in Ukraine. He presented the vision of our Patriarch Sviatoslav and the Synod as a whole. In the second part he presented about 30 items of importance in the life of our Eparchy. Much discussion followed. The new Catechism, preaching, religious education, sermon preparation, and parishioner visitations were just a few of the matters which were covered.
The next three days were dedicated to matters which were chosen this year for more in depth discussion. Scripture study was presented by Fr. Brian. Deacon Michael Zylan presented a paper on the use of our extensive data base.
Fr. Bob Maguire, the famous Melbourne social services campaigner, visited the conference. He presented his film “In Bob we trust” and presented his passion to see a more Jesus centred church.
Pope Francis’ favourite movie “Babette’s Feast” was shown. This brought about a sincere discussion about the way we see change in the church and about our view of what is God’s will.
Narelle McMahon from the National Professional Standards Office informed the conference on how we can improve our protection of children and vulnerable adults.
Chris Hall from Catholic Church Insurance spent a lot of time outlining how our parishes should become safer from the Workplace, Health, and Safety perspective.
Maru Jarockyj and other members of the Eparchial Pastoral Council, along with Tatiana Zachariak, the chair of the Eparchial Financial Committee, spoke to the gathering on a number of matters. Amongst them, the 2017 Major Pilgrimage to Canberra, Youth Ministry, the new Catechism, and other pastoral planning matters.
There were some very satisfying comments made as everyone started to go home – “the best ever”, “I really enjoyed that”.
The Youth Ministry of the Eparchy was carried over for a further, longer discussion which was led by Fr. Simon Ckuj. A very lively discussion followed.
The conference closed on Friday morning after the clergy heard from two doctors. Dr. Bernie Crimmins, a local specialist on men’s health issues, and Dr. John Gill, a psychiatrist who explored the topic of “depression”.
The conference had 14 sessions. All were informative, comprehensive, and some produced very intense discussion. There were some very satisfying comments made as everyone started to go home – “the best ever”, “I really enjoyed that”.
Let us pray that all this makes for a better church in Australia and New Zealand.
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