Dear Parish Ambassador

Good morning. I trust that you are well and surviving lockdown.

Thank you so much for your response to the Agenda for the Plenary Council. The executive summary is attached and was sent to the Archbishop and Plenary Council National Team last week. All members of the Plenary Council now have access to it.

A longer report is being prepared which will capture more broadly your responses. As soon as this is completed we will forward it to you.

October Assembly

Preparations are underway for the October Assembly. Unfortunately owing to Covid restrictions the sessions will now be online with all members operating

from home.  

Morning sessions will be live-streamed and can be accessed from the Plenary Council website. https://plenarycouncil.catholic.org.au/

The Opening and Closing Mass for the Assembly will be live-streamed from St Mary’s Cathedral at 10.30am.

3rd October - https://youtu.be/gkDKyUm2-3I

10th October - https://youtu.be/j-svTTMmIFo

Let us continue to pray for the Plenary Council members as they prepare for the Assembly.

God bless you and thank you for all your support of the Plenary Council.

Sr Jo

Sr Jo Brady RSJ

Plenary Council Working Group Liaison Support  Officer

Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney

Polding Centre 133 Liverpool Street Sydney

Tel: 0439197242   02 9390 5100

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney

This document summarises the views and recommendations of groups and individual parishioners of the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney in response to the release of the Plenary Council Agenda.[1http://www.mumbaiscc.in/sccinmumbai">http://www.mumbaiscc.in/sccinmumbai). .

More senior, high-profile decision-making roles in lay leadership should be held by women within the Church; quotas may be needed to ensure women take these positions.

Ensure that Church youth organisations such as Sydney Catholic Youth have greater presence in parishes, visiting parishes and working with youth leaders to gain a better understanding of the needs of individual parishes and tailor strategies to encourage greater youth participation.


Implement recommendations from the Light from the Southern Cross: put Diocesan Pastoral Councils (elected representatives of Deaneries) and PPCs in place; ensure minutes are published and that pastors and bishops explain any decision to reject a Council’s advice.

Encourage our pastors to live Gospel inspired lives, to be open and of service, welcoming and concerned with inclusion and responding to need, rather than concerned with power, authority or position and prestige.

Rethink the way decisions are made in the Church, respecting canon law but using the synodal processes evident in the Plenary Council to ensure participative partnership and co-responsible governance and mutual understanding between lay women and men and clergy at all levels. and clergy should be fostered in the interests of safety guarding the community and its resources

Consult panels of lay women and men with appropriate expertise about the appointment of bishops and senior diocesan staff, the placement of priests and the admission of seminarians.

Governance structures should have significant First Nations and multicultural representation.

Create a comprehensive national administration system to be used by all parishes; include attention to financial and pastoral data. Financial reporting should be consistent across all dioceses and parishes to ensure transparency as per requirements of Canon Law 1287.

Hierarchical models of governance must be superseded by the church to ensure that bishops and priests grasp the meaning of respectful listening and dialogue, especially in relation to the place of women in the church.

Develop a transparent plan, a timeline and targets to undertake governance changes and provide an annual progress report with results published through the appropriate agency.

Establish a legal structure allowing decisions to be made by Australian Catholic bishops to bind all dioceses in Australia.

Establish a performance-based approach to Church management. Effectively monitor a diocese’s  performance in key areas of its operation, so that it is in a position to address poor performance.

Restore the role of the parish priest as prime carer in regard to the religious education of his parish flock, including Catholic and state schools.

Encourage the laity to establish a general organisation to defend and promote Christian values in the public arena (e.g. like the Protestant Churches’ Australian Christian Lobby)



Address the selectivity and rigidity of operation in many organisations and the negative influence of economic imperatives.

Focus on ensuring that training of staff in all Catholic agencies is an excellent missionary & evangelising tool. 


Regarding education, address the fact that most students leave school with poor knowledge of the faith and no personal faith in Jesus. This is a failure of responsibility shared with parents. Try to ensure that religious education coordinators are practicing Catholics. Use the reception of the sacraments as a time to require parents to engage with the sacramental program.

Provide more services for in aged care, mental health care and take steps towards Aboriginal reconciliation and serving the disadvantaged/ vulnerable in our society. Actively publicise programs to demonstrate that these are important pastoral initiatives in a vibrant Church.

Institutions must mix with other agencies/communities on a regular basis e.g. the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry or Matt Talbott Hostel, to access knowledge held by these agencies.

Address declining involvement of youth in the Church by developing a national youth faith formation program for schools, using International models of best practice.  Require participation in social justice and formation programs. Such initiatives may help to attract vocations in Australia.

Sr. Jo Brady RSJ

Plenary Council Working Group Liaison Support Officer

(in collaboration with Bishop Terry Brady and Sandy Lynch,

Co-Chairs, Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney Plenary Council Working Group)


[1] Please note that most respondents chose to enumerate their concerns and convictions in relation to the 6 themes of the Agenda and that views on the same topic sometimes differ.