2023 Diocesan Gathering

29th March 2023  

Bishop Michael (4th from right) with Geraldton Diocese priests, principals, heads of agencies, Chancery staff and group representatives present at the Diocesan Gathering/Bishop’s Pastoral Day at the Catholic Centre in Geraldton.

The Bishop's Pastoral Day is an annual Diocesan event facilitated by Fr Gerard Totañes VG and coincides with the celebration of the Mass of Oils, where key people in leadership and ministry roles within the diocese come together for communal prayer, fellowship and reflection on local church matters.

This year presentational reports were given from Centacare (Mrs Vicki Wood), St John of God Hospital (Mrs Alison Dawson), Nazareth House Aged Care (Sr Telesia Taavao), Catholic Education (CEWA) Regional Office (Dr. Lisa Gallin), as well as the Diocesan Chancery (Fr Robert Cross) and Finance (Mr Ward Italiano). Each presentation given revealed very much the many good things taking place within the Diocese and the challenges that each organisation currently faced. 

Fr Gerard presented a review of the Plenary Council Decrees and fellow Diocesan Representatives who attended last year's Australian Plenary Council, Cathy Jones and Dearne Gould, shared what they had experienced at the Plenary and of their own personal hopes. 

Bishop Michael explained the Synod of Synodality and its processes. Those attending the Pastoral Day were then invited to mix and match into groups of eight to participate in a Spiritual Conversation where each was asked to share, for two minutes, their own thoughts and feelings around the following question, while others remained silent: 

Imagine the Diocese of Geraldton had just been created, and without feeling restricted by any of the current realities of the Church (local and universal), and keeping in mind the vision of the Plenary Council outlined in the Plenary Council Decrees and the forthcoming Synod on Synodality, what would be your pastoral dream plan for the Diocese and what would this look like in practical terms on the ground?

Following, a second part of the conversation took place, involving each sharing again for two minutes, what they themselves heard as they listened to their group's sharing. A final and third part of the Spiritual Conversation then followed whereby the small group had a free for all discussion, where notes were taken by a group representative who then reported it to the wider the group. 

The intention now for these group notes is that they will be documented and used as a basis for the Diocesan Synod Bishop Michael is planning will take place in 2024.

The day concluded with the celebration of the Mass of Oils in the Cathedral at 5pm.