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Diocesan Festival

20 June, 2023

The new Diocesan Pastoral Plan was launched on Friday 26th and Saturday 27th May at an engaging festival that brought together priests, religious brothers and sisters, lay people, and many others from agencies, schools and parishes across our diocese.

At the festival, hosted by Bishop Michael and the members of the Diocesan Pastoral Council, there was wonderful discussion and collection of different ideas and experiences that will help us build and improve on the good things already happening in our Church. It is important to share the Good News of our diocese as we prepare to implement the plan.

Thanks to those who were able to join us, the wonderful catch ups with old and new friends and for the prayers offered for the weekend. The plan asks us to make the Diocesan Vision statement practical in each parish, community and agency, focussing on three priority areas: Mission & Evangelisation, Mission and Co-responsibility, Mission and Celebration. Let us continue to pray for our diocese & parish.

It was wonderful to see people coming from different parts and ministries of the Diocese with their spiritual leaders in harmony, unity, co-responsibility, solidarity and synodality as one family to celebrate and plan for the future of the Church! I really enjoyed it. Fr Truc – Emerald

As the name indicates the festival was an extra-ordinary event. There was among the participants a unanimity of mind and purpose. There was a sense of actively listening to each other. No one could shy away from the fact that we are all co-responsible for Mission in our Parish, Diocese and Church. It is God’s Mission and we are stewards of that Mission. Congratulations to the DPC and all who arranged the active welcome and celebration. Br Ted – Bundaberg

Of the palpable sense of harmony and unity and sheer goodwill among the whole group. I was especially impressed with the dedication, enthusiasm and deep faith of our younger generation despite all the damage done to the victims – and the Church – with the dreadful abuse saga . You all give me so much hope! Thank you!
I was also very impressed with the many talents among the participants – and let me praise our amazing Diocesan Office staff who sang so beautifully in the choir for our very joyful Mass. The Holy Spirit was certainly among us.
A big thank you to Bishop Michael for his vision of involving the whole of the Diocese to bring this Diocesan Pastoral Plan to life and for calling us together to celebrate its launch.
Now we continue to use our many diverse gifts to work and pray together as one big faith community to each do our part to help it bear fruit.  We are truly blessed with so many gifted and generous folk among us. Sr Cecilia – Woorabinda Mission

Recently, I attended the Diocesan Festival in Rockhampton, which was hosted by Bishop Michael. The gathering was an opportunity to hear about the pastoral focus for our Diocese over the next five years and to launch the Diocesan Pastoral Plan. This gathering also offered the opportunity to hear of the good work that is happening around our Diocese. One of the guest speakers I was very interested in was Josh Ariens. Josh had some very illuminating facts about men in the Catholic Church. This information is from the foundation leadership group, MenALIVE which is based in Brisbane, but also travels to rural areas. Michelle Paterson APRE St Peter’s School Rockhampton

Thoroughly enjoyed the nine presentations Friday afternoon giving us several ideas for our future planning.
Warren Middleton, Leadership Team – Capricorn Coast

Congratulations on the Festival, I think it went very well. I am sure the Diocesan Pastoral Plan will be very helpful. Di-Anne Rowan, North Rockhampton

It was a special moment in the history and mission of the Diocese. I felt the Spirit was opening the ears of our hearts and we were listening. We began to learn the art of spiritual conversations – hopefully we can make it a common practice in our parishes. The opportunities for growth and transformation in the mission of the local Church, our Diocesan family, are abundant – like the joy of the Lord we shared with each other.  Josh Ariens – Gladstone

It was great to put faces to names I have connected with in the Diocese and the wonderful work being carried out.
God bless you in your contribution to the Diocese. Shirley Hopkins – North Rockhampton

I was really impressed with the process and the facilitation. Top marks all round for everyone involved. Mike Kelso, Catholic Education

Please pass on my deepest thanks to Bishop Michael. Having the opportunity to meet as a faith community was enlightening. I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend, especially the discussions and new connections. Lisa O’Brien – Gladstone

A group of parishioners from the Cap Coast gathered with many others from all over the Diocese to, with Bishop Michael, launch the Diocesan Pastoral Plan. It was filled with hope, excitement and new possibilities. It was inspiring to listen, share and be part of this gathering. Members of our Parish Leadership Group, Schools and parishioners, had a chance also to come together which helped share ideas and new ways to share the Mission of Jesus in our community. it was an amazing opportunity for Fr’s Samuel and Kingsley newly arrived from Nigeria and were at the Cap Coast for a while, to see so many different gifts of leadership and ministry being shared within our Diocese. Thanks to all who made this a great few days of gathering. Fr Matthew Moloney – Capricorn Coast

Josh Ariens’ Presentation condensed

.48% of Catholics are male, but only 38% of these males attend Mass often. From this group of Catholic males, men under the age of 45 are the fastest declining group attending Mass regularly. Generally, men’s participation in all organisations is declining, this could be a hangover from Covid, but it may also go deeper than that. Men commonly seek purpose in their work and family life, which brings me to the question, do they feel needed at church?
Statistically depression, anxiety and substance abuse are on the rise. 76% of suicide deaths in Australia are males. Alarmingly 6 men commit suicide each day in Australia. Domestic violence and the breakdown of families and marriages also need to be considered.

Do we have a part to play in this scenario? How do we engage the people around us to want to participate in Mass?
Some food for thought…
We need to make this Mass experience relevant across the generations. Prioritising ministry within our busy lives, make time for it and make it a shared family experience. Let’s ensure there is something for all the family to enjoy when they attend Mass. Perhaps by inviting our family and friends to come along to Mass with us, making it a social occasion could help this situation. We need to engage in liturgies filled by the message of Jesus, making these relevant for our lives today. We also need food to nourish our bodies and our minds, through connectedness. This is an important part of getting to know each other and building relationships with the people around us.

The relationships we make through attending Mass may be the connection we all need. To believe and build a bond with each other is crucial here. We are all the disciples of Jesus, and together we can start to take the steps needed to address these issues relevant to today’s society. We are Jesus’ disciples, we are Called to Serve others, how are you going to answer this call? Often when disciples should be scared, they are bold, they go out and do what needs to be done.