National Meeting of Diocesan Directors 2006



19 - 23 JUNE 2006

Diocesan Directors for Clergy Life and Ministry or representatives from:


  • PERTH *Fr Peter Bianchini
  • BROOME Fr Patrick de Silva
  • GERALDTON Fr Michael Morrissey


  • ADELAIDE *Mgr Ian Dempsey
  • DARWIN Fr John Kelliher msc
  • PORT PIRIE Fr Adrian Noonan


  • MELBOURNE Fr Martin Ashe
  • BALLARAT Fr Ed Moloney
  • HOBART *Fr Mark Freeman
  • SALE Fr John Allen
  • SANDHURST Fr Des Welladsen


  • SYDNEY *Mgr Vince Redden
  • ARMIDALE Fr Ross O'Brien
  • BATHURST Fr Pat O'Regan
  • BROKEN BAY Fr Frank Dineen msc
  • LISMORE Fr Paul McDonald
  • MAITLAND Fr Frank Dineen msc
  • MILITARY Fr Martin Langron
  • PARRAMATTA Fr Chris de Souza
  • WAGGA Fr John McGrath
  • WOLLONGONG Fr Chris Roberts
  • CANBERRA-GOULBURN Fr John Armstrong


  • BRISBANE *Fr Dave O'Connor
  • CAIRNS Fr Kerry Crowley
  • ROCKHAMPTON Fr John Daly
  • TOWNSVILLE Fr Terry Lyons

*Diocesan Directors on the Commission

From New Zealand

  • Fr Alan Roberts (Wellington)
  • Fr Leonard Danvers (Hamilton)

Members of the Commission (who are not Diocesan Directors)

  • Bishop Don Sproxton (President)
  • Mr Denys Goggin (Sydney)
  • Ms Carmel Fitzgerald (Sandhurst)
  • Director Fr Frank Devoy
  • Secretary Elisabeth Cowie


Mgr Ian Dempsey, Frs Peter Bianchini, Michael Morrissey, John Kelliher, Adrian Noonan from the WA/SA/NT.

  • 6.00 pm Evening Meal
  • 7.00 pm Opening Liturgy
  • Leader: Fr Adrian Noonan
  • (All liturgies were prepared by Fr Anthony Kain in Adelaide for the Planning Committee)
  • The opening liturgy was based on the story of the Good Samaritan. During the liturgy each priest marked his hometown on a map of Australia, then placed his stole on a sheet on the floor. As he did, wine and oil were poured into a carafe. (The wine and oil and the carafe were left on a central table during the four days, surrounded by the stoles.)
  • Chair for the Day: Ian Dempsey
  • 9.00 am Morning Prayer led by Dave O'Connor
  • 9.15 am Caroline Jones
  • "What are the grace-filled moments that you have observed in the lives of priests?"
    Caroline shared briefly on her working life at the ABC, on how she became a Catholic, and her work with the Vianney gathering. She used these times to reflect on grace-filled moments in her own life and invited everyone to think of similar moments in their own lives.Her talk included delightful stories and personal anecdotes and at the conclusion, she read her Reflections on the Priesthood, which is appended.
    Buzz groups.
  • 10.30 am Morning Tea
  • 11.00 am John Daly, Patrick de Silva, Deacon Paul Simmons, Peter Bianchini
  • "What are grace-filled moments that energise my priesthood?"
    Buzz groups
  • 12.30 pm Lunch
  • 3.00 pm Bishop Michael Malone
    Bishop Michael explained to the meeting the recent changes to the Bishops Conference and their implications for the (new) Council for Clergy Life and Ministry
  • 4.15 pm Lis Cowie, Carmel Fitzgerald, Denis Goggin
    "What are grace-filled moments in the lives of priests which you find to be a source of admiration?"
    Buzz groups
  • 5.15 pm Eucharist - Chief Celebrant: John Kelliher
  • 6.00 pm Evening Meal


  • Chair for the Day Fr John Kelliher
  • 9.00 am Morning Prayer led by Ross O'Brien
  • 9.15 am Fr Richard Lennan
  • "Priesthood: Challenges for a grace-filled journey".
    During his talk Richard handed out three papers, Spirituality for Ministry, Ministry: Challenges and Possibilities, Call and Conversion.
    Buzz groups
  • 10.30 am Morning Tea
  • 11.00 am Eucharist - Chief Celebrant: Adrian Noonan
  • 12.30 pm Lunch
    The afternoon and evening were free.


  • Chair for the Day: Michael Morrissey
  • 9.00 am Morning Prayer led by Martin Ashe
  • 9.15 am Archbishop Francis Carroll
  • "What are the grace-filled moments that have energised my life and priest and bishop?"
    Fr Francis shared briefly about his life growing up, noting the importance of his family and extended family. He talked about his life as a priest and then as a bishop, saying much of the time he had felt "in the desert". He made special mention of the People of God, of the Council of Priests and of priests' assemblies, noting their importance.
  • He said the highlights of his priestly life had been:
    · 3 fourteen-day retreats he had done and seminars he had attended
    · an unexpected three-month trip overseas in 1983 just before he was installed as Archbishop of Canberra-Goulburn
    · a "sabbatical of the heart" in 1993 in Ireland
    He said while he is naturally shy, he has always tried to promote a collaborative style of leadership. His interesting talk, given with gentleness and humility, was very warmly received by all who heard him.
    Buzz groups
  • 10.30 am Morning Tea
  • 11.00 am Director's Address
    Fr Frank Devoy briefly explained the history of the Council (previously Commission). He said that the Australian Association for the Pastoral Renewal of Catholic Clergy (AAPROCC) and the National Council of Priests (NCP) had grown out of gatherings of priests who met annually in the 1960s and 1970's at the Hume Weir. These groups had sponsored the St Peter Centre - a three-month live-in program in Canberra - which was set up in 1981. (It later closed in 1993.)
    • In 1985 the Ministry to Priests Program (MPP) was introduced into Australia under the American-based Center for Human Development, which became The Catholic Institute for Ministry (CIM) in Australia.
    • In 1992, following a review of the Institute, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference set up the Australian Catholic Commission for the Continuing Education of Priests (ACCCEP) which was to assist with the ongoing education for priests in all dioceses.
    • Since it was set up, the Commission has twice changed its name to better reflect its mandate. In 1998 it became the Australian Catholic Commission for the Continuing Education of Clergy to reflect the involvement of bishops and deacons.
    • Then in 2002 it became the National Commission for Clergy Life and Ministry to reflect the emphasis on life and ministry, rather than education.
    • Following major restructuring of the Bishops Conference in May 2006, its name has been changed to the Australian Council for Clergy Life and Ministry (ACCLM).
  • 11.45 pm Regional Meetings
  • 12.30 pm Lunch
  • 3.30 pm Afternoon Tea
  • 4.00 pm What will I take home from this meeting?
    • Michael asked the gathering to reflect on the questions sent out prior to the meeting.
    • After Ian Dempsey and Peter Bianchini, in turn, had placed each priest's stole around his neck, the priest who had just received his stole explained to the group the significance of this particular stole.
  • 5.15 pm Closing Eucharist
    • Celebrant: Archbishop Carroll
    • Homiliest: Fr Frank Devoy
    • Fr Peter Brock (former Executive Officer) and Fr Garry McKeon (former DD for Bathurst) came back for the closing Eucharist and for the Conference Dinner that followed.
  • 6.30 pm Conference Dinner


  • NSW/ACT/MILITARY 12 - 15 February at Kensington
  • WA/SA/NT 29 January - 2 February in Darwin
  • VIC/TAS 31 January - 2 February in Melbourne
  • QLD 15 - 19 January 2007 in Rockhampton
  • Created: 26 September 2008
  • Modified: 19 May 2009
  • Posted in: Office
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