Information Bulletin 80

August 2006

Dear Brothers in Ministry
For many, the idea of remaining youthful is attractive. According to one source, it’s a must for clergy! Indeed, Pope John Paul II reminds us in Pastores dabo vobis that “ongoing formation keeps up one’s ‘youthful-ness of spirit’.” He continues, “Only those who keep ever alive their desire to learn and grow can be said to enjoy this ‘youthfulness’ … Truly each priest has the duty ….” (no. 79)
There is a great deal of evidence of this ‘youthfulness’ in our deacons, priests, and bishops across Australia. This is clear in large measure from our Diocesan Directors’ annual reports of the Retreats, Clergy Conferences, Assemblies, Synods and post-Synodal efforts--renewals of all kinds, attended annually by the bulk of our Australian clergy. We should be so proud.
Having attending almost all the Clergy Conferences listed inside over the past six months, I join with you in acknowledging the great wealth of talent we have – gifted speakers and gifted listeners/contributors ‘doing together’ ongoing formation, education, and renewal.
In past Information Bulletins, my predecessors gave a detailed account of the “Executive Officer’s movements”.
Let’s settle for the list of Conferences inside!

PS. With the reorganisation of the Australian Bishops Conference we have a new name: The Australian Catholic Council for Clergy Life and Ministry.
With personal best wishes

Frank Devoy, Director
{/slide} {slide=Letter to Priests}


“… We write to you, our closest collaborators in ministry, to assure you of our appreciation of your ministry and our admiration for you at a time when many confusing issues seem to impact on priesthood.… We realise that there are real pressures on you from many sources, e.g. when the Second Vatican Council called for renewal and we enthusi-astically responded, we did not anticipate the challenges this might have on aspects of our ministry. Despite that, we rejoice in a Church which includes bishops, priests, deacons, laity and religious men and women working collaboratively in its life and mission.

“We admire the tradition of close relationship between priests and people in Australia. To be able to share privil-eged pastoral moments with them is a singular joy. Some-times, however, you may be overwhelmed by their expectat-ions. We are conscious, also, of increased responsibilities caused by fewer priests and concerns about the shortage of priests, about the ageing of priests, and about the lack of vocations. We are also aware of the busyness of large city parishes and the isolation and physical demands of rural ones. These issues can have a debilitating effect on our equilibrium and cause us to question our own relevance or usefulness in the Church. We can experience a weariness of spirit in the face of these issues.

“Priestly life and ministry needs to be constantly re-newed. Spiritual, personal and professional develop-ment are essential for our well-being and effectiveness. We are encouraged to be men of deep prayer; to continue to develop liturgical presence and practice; to maintain read-ing and study; and to look for opportunities for further re-newal. We support you in this since we want priesthood to be personally enriching and vital to the life of the Church.

“We recognise your deep loyalty to the Church and your courageous efforts to engage in its life and mission. We proclaim a wonderful message – let us do so with boldness! We thank God for you and reassure you of our esteem, appreciation and prayers. As the bishops of Australia, we renew our commitment to be faithful leaders of service with you, and to all the people of God.”

{/slide} {slide=Clergy Conferences}


Armidale. Fr John Usher, Sydney: Cohesion and Adaptability of the Presbyterate of Armidale.
Ballarat. Sr Barbara Reid, CTU Chicago: The Resurrection Narratives.
Bathurst. Fr John Hill, Woy Woy: The Development of Priestly Identity in Church Teaching.
Brisbane. Fr Richard Lennan, Mission of the Church: Focus on Ordained Ministry (Synod follow up); Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, Reflections on the Priesthood.
Broken Bay. Bishop D. Walker: The Presbyterate (Feb. meeting), Scriptural Basis for Change; Fr David Ranson, Theological Reflection on Change; Dr Tony Robinson, Caring for Self in Times of Change (June meeting).
Canberra-Goulburn. Dr Ray Canning, ACU Canberra: The Theological Foundations for Parish-based Sacraments.
Hobart. Fr Orm Rush, Brisbane: Peaching Jesus Today.
Melbourne. Fr John Fuellenbach, Rome: Church: Commun-ity for the Kingdom.
Parramatta. Fr Bill Attard, Fr Terry Kean & Sister Clare Griffin. Melbourne: Companions in Hope.
Perth. Fr Peter Bianchini, Perth: The Permanent Diaconate.
Sale. Fr Brendan Byrne SJ: Gospel of Luke; Fr Tim Costello SDB: Priesthood in the Early Church based on Scripture and Tradition; Fr Paul Connell: Eschatology with particular reference to von Balthasar.
Sandhurst. Fr Frank Devoy, ACCLM Canberra: Communio: Calling for a Grace-filled Consensus & Collaboration.
Sydney. Fr Ulrich Hennes, Cologne: World Youth Day; Deacon Paul Simmons, Broken Bay: Permanent Diaconate.
Townsville. Members of the Townsville Presbyterate sharing their journey.
Wagga Wagga. Fr John Usher, Sydney: The Cohesion and Adaptability of the Presbyterate of Wagga Wagga.
Wollongong. Bishop Toohey, Wilcannia-Forbes: Climate Change and Greenhouse Implications.


National Gathering of Deacons, Adelaide
Fr Clem Hill. The Deacon as Communicator, The Deacon as Preacher, The Deacon as Proclaimer. (19-22 Jan. 2006).
Australian Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, Albury.
Dr Tracey Rowland. Benedict XVI & Vatican II; on his Augustinian Dimensions; the Keys to his Theology; Fr John Walshe, Melbourne: Benedict – Essentially an Ecclesiologist?; Fr Anthony Robbie, Sydney: The Making of Benedict XVI; Fr Glen Tattersall FSSP, Melbourne: Benedict XVI’s Theology of Worship. (10-14 July 2006).
National Council of Priests Convention, Adelaide.
Fr David Ranson, Broken Bay, Sr Ruth Egar rsm, Adelaide, and Sue Holoubeck, Adelaide. Imagining New Pastoral Leadership. “These speakers will bring a fresh and positive outlook to priesthood. This will be an opportunity for inner renewal and renewed enthusiasm for your priesthood, something not to be missed.” (23-27 October 2006).
{/slide} {slide=Ongoing Formation}


Aussie Sabbatical 2007, Toowoomba
Contact: Fr Jeff Scully, PO Box 45, Quilpie. 4480
Douglas Park, Sacred Heart Fathers
Heart of Life Spirituality Centre, Melbourne
Campion Centre, Kew Melbourne
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Marymount Mercy Centre
St Joseph's - Baulkham Hills
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Personal Renewal for Ministry, Manly Q’land
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Australian Catholic University - Bris, Syd, ACT, Ballarat
Brisbane College of Theology
Broken Bay Institute - Broken Bay
Catholic Institute of Sydney - Strathfield, Sydney
Catholic Theological College – East Melbourne
John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family - Victoria
Melbourne College of Divinity
Notre Dame University - Freemantle, Sydney, Broome
United Faculty of Theology - Parkville, Victoria
Yarra Theological Union - Box Hill,Victoria
American College of Louvain, Leuven, Belgium
Hawkstone Hall, Shrewsbury, England
Heythrop College, University of London, England
St Mary's Kinnoull, Perth, Scotland
All Hallows, Ireland
Marianella, Dublin, Ireland
Milltown Institute, Dublin
Tantur Ecumenical Institute, Jerusalem, Israel
Ecce Homo, Jerusalem, Israel
The Institute for Spirituality & Worship, Berkley
Institute of Pastoral Studies, Chicago, Chicago
Oblate School of Theology, San Antonio, Texas
La Salle Sangre de Cristo Center, New Mexico
Jesuit School of Theology, Berkeley, California
Seton Hall, New Jersey
School of Applied Theology (SAT) Berkeley, California
Congregation of the Mission (Vincentians)
Sangre de Cristo, New Mexico
Weston Jesuit School of Theology, Cambridge, Mass.
Vatican II Institute, Menlo Park, California
The Mercy Centre
{/slide} {slide=Pastores Dabo Vobis}

Pastores Dabo Vobis (Pope John Paul II)

“In a certain sense, it is the priest himself, the individual priest, who is the person primarily responsible in the Church for ongoing formation. Truly each priest has the duty, rooted in the sacrament of holy orders, to be faithful to the gift God has given him and to respond to the call for daily conversion which comes with the gift itself.
“The regulations and norms established by Church authority, as also the example given by other priests, are not enough to make permanent formation attractive unless the individual priest is personally convinced of its need and is determined to make use of the opportunities, times and forms in which it comes.
“Ongoing formation keeps up one's ‘youthfulness of spirit’ which is something that cannot be imposed from without. Each priest must continually find it within himself. Only those who keep ever alive their desire to learn and grow can be said to enjoy this ‘youthfulness’.
“The responsibility of the bishop and, with him, of the presbyterate, is fundamental. The bishop's responsibility is based on the fact that priests receive their priesthood from him and share his pastoral solicitude for the People of God. He is responsible for ongoing formation, the purpose of which is to ensure that all his priests are generously faithful to the gift and ministry received, that they are priests such as the People of God wishes to have and has a ‘right’ to.
“This responsibility leads the bishop, in communion with the presbyterate, to outline a project and establish a program which can ensure that ongoing formation is not something haphazard but a systematic offering of subjects, which unfold by stages and take on precise forms. The bishop will live up to his responsibility not only by seeing to it that his presbyterate has places and times for its ongoing formation, but also by being present in person and taking part in an interested and friendly way …. “(no. 79)
“I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you.” (2 Tim 1:6) {/slide}
  • Created: 01 August 2006
  • Modified: 25 April 2009