Council of priests meeting

Meeting of the Council of Priests, Archdiocese of Sydney
Minutes- OCTOBER 27, 2004

ITEM 1: INTRODUCTION

10.00am Morning Tea

10.30am Welcome and Opening Prayer

Present: Cardinal George Pell, Bishop David Cremin, Bishop Anthony Pisher, O.P., Mgr Kerry Bayada, Fr Brian Byron, Fr Jason Camilleri, Fr Joseph Camilleri, Fr Tom Carroll, Fr George Connolly, Fr John Crothers, Fr Paul Crowley, Fr Ray Parrell, Fr Josef Kolodziej, Fr Martin Maunsell, Fr Paul Monkerud, Fr Vladimir Novak, OPM, Mgr Brian Rayner, Mgr Vince Redden, Fr Kevin Spillane.

Apologies: Bishop Julian Porteous, Fr Peter Pitzgerald, Fr Paul Stenhouse.

ITEM 2: ACCEPTANCE OF THE MINUTES

• Fr George Connolly provided a written statement that "the minutes state that no report was received from the Randwick-Botany deanery. In fact, although I did not hand the secretary a written report, I did give a brief verbal report to the Council of Priests. It simply stated that the deanery had met on 17 August and had discussed the Minutes of the Council of Priests." At that deanery meeting, the following issues were discussed:

  • The Lineamenta on the Eucharist;
  • Galilee House;
  • The short term appointments of Parish Priests over 70 years of age;
  • Concern that Parish Priests rather than the Chancery be responsible for checking that supply priests satisfy Child Protection Legislation requirements;
  • The work of the Life Office and Dr Brigit Vout;
  • The requirement that Parishes compose inventories;
  • Subject to including Fr Connolly’s statement in the minutes of this meeting, the acceptance of the minutes of the meeting held on August 25 was moved by Fr Joseph Camilleri, seconded by Fr Martin Maunsell and approved by the Council.
ITEM 3: CARDINAL’S COMMENTS

• "As you know, the Holy Father has designated this twelve months "The Year of the Eucharist" to conclude with a Synod next year in Rome in October. I have arranged for every priest to receive a copy of his apostolic letter "Mane Nobiscum Domine" when printing is completed.
The Eucharist is at the centre of our Catholic life. When celebrated with reverence and devotion, with adequate preparation and prayerful participation by our people, the Eucharist is par excellence the source of grace and strength, as well as being the source for missionary expansion, for resisting and reversing the slow decline of mass-goers.
Archdiocesan agencies and the archdiocesan liturgy committee are preparing a set of initiatives and offerings for use in parishes and around the archdiocese. I urge you to take up these opportunities in whatever way you feel suitable for your parish.
The Holy Father particularly recommends us to do what we can to enhance the celebration of Sunday Mass and to increase Eucharistic adoration outside of Mass. Throughout Australia and in Sydney, an increasing number of parishes have a weekly period of silent adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. With a bit of encouragement and explanation, a goodly number of our parishioners will find these times of silent prayer peace-giving and refreshing. They also bring grace to the parish. Many parishes use these times to encourage parishioners to pray for vocations to the priesthood and to religious and lay leadership."

• "Recently, I was attending a theological symposium before the Eucharistic Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, and last week, I attended the international retreat for priests in Malta arranged by the Congregation for the Clergy. 1000 priests attended from all around the world, including three from Sydney. It was well organised, written translations of all the talks were available as the talks were given, as well as simultaneous translations. The spirit was excellent and I found the experience encouraging and life-giving.
I urge you to consider attending some of these international gatherings. They could well form part of a sabbatical program, a period of renewal, especially for those priests who are not inclined to formal study, or even longer retreats. The Archdiocese is open to making a contribution towards the expense of such an undertaking.
We have great strengths in Sydney, but other parts of the Church also have great strengths and sometimes these are different from ours. It doesn’t hurt us to see and experience how other priests and dioceses exploit their opportunities."

Responses to the Archbishop’s comments:

• Mgr Brian Rayner noted that oversees opportunities for clergy of the Archdiocese are published in the Ad Clerum.

ITEM 4: REPORTS FROM DEANERIES AND CONSTITUENCIES
1. Ashfield-Canterbury: a written report of the deanery meeting held on September 29,2004 was tabled. It noted the following:

• Welcome new members and visitors:

  • The Dean welcomed John Walsh (Campsie) and Carmen Polifrone (Confirmation 2005 Committee member);
  • He offered words of congratulations to Gerry Scott (Ashfield) on his Golden Jubilee of ordination;

• Confirmation 2005:

  • Carmen Polifrone, chair of the Parish & Ethic Community Liaison Sub Committee, spoke about the ongoing arrangements for the celebration of Confirmation 2005;
  • Carmen responded to questions for about fifteen minutes;
  • She left after an expression of appreciation from the Dean;

• Galilee House:

  • Members sought clarification from the Council of Priests about the status of Galilee House;

• Sacraments of Initiation:

  • Members requested again that the Council of Priests address issues relating to the Sacraments of Initiation;
  • The discrepancies in practice between dioceses in the metropolitan area of Sydney were noted explicitly;

• Parish Reconfiguration:

  • Correspondence from Mgr Rayner to the Dean in relation to concerns about parish reconfigurations in the deanery was tabled for the information of members;

• Year of the Eucharist:

  • Members discussed some practical responses for their parishes, e.g. discussion groups on the recent papal teaching on the Eucharist;
  • Members discussed issues related to the document: "The Eucharist: Source & Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church";
  • Other issues flowed from this discussion, e.g. reinvigorating reverence for the sacrament and identifying some practical means of encouraging the sense of community within parish Eucharistic celebrations;

• Christmas mass timetables:

  • Members organised the Christmas mass timetables with reference to each other;

• Charitable Works Fund:

  • The meeting agreed that Sunday mass attendance would offer a more realistic basis for parish assessment than current census information;
2. Auburn-Bankstown: a written report of the deanery meeting held on October 14, 2004, at Bankstown Parish was tabled. It noted the following:

• Confirmation 2005:

  • Carmen Polifrone (Parish & Ethnic Liasion Committee) was welcomed to the meeting;
  • Carmen updated the meeting on the progress of Confirmation 2005:
    • There would be about 5000 candidates;
    • A website had been created;
    • A number of information evenings will be held across the Archdiocese in November for parish representatives;
    • There will be two sessions on May 21,2005: 12.30pm and 4.3Opm;
    • Each session will celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation within the Eucharist;
    • Issues of safety and parling are still to be finalised;

• Music Copyright:

  • It was mentioned that the Liturgy Office was seeking a General Copyright Licence for the Archdiocese;
  • The meeting agreed that such a licence would be beneficial to parishes in time and cost;

• CWF Contributions:

  • Fr Terence Millard, a member of the CWF Committee, explained the new method of calculating CWF parish quotas;
  • He stated that the new method was fairer to parishes and required a greater degree of accountability from Church agencies;

• CEO administering costs of parish schools:

  • The meeting was informed of ongoing discussions between the Chancery and the CEO regarding the CEO assuming responsibility for the future maintenance and repair costs of parish schools;
  • The new arrangement s could begin in 2005 if agreements were reached;
  • Members raised some concerns, e.g. how the CEO would be able to finance this proposal, and what effect it would have on the School Levy and tax deductibility;

• Clergy Forum:

  • Members were reminded of the Clergy Forum to be held on October 28;

• Screening of Priests:

  • New methods for screening priests from outside the Archdiocese were discussed;

• Child Protection Legislation Training Sessions:

  • Members found these Sessions complex and heavy going;
  • One member said that similar sessions conducted at the Bankstown Orientation Day were better;

• Cancellation of Mr Jesus Bello’s ordination to the diaconate;

  • Fr Terence Millard informed the meeting that Jesus Bello, a deacon appointed to the Greenacre parish (and a member of the Neo-Catechumenate Way) had had his date for ordination cancelled;
  • Mr Bello had been sent to Spain for further missionary experience;
  • Fr Millard said that Mr Bello’s sudden departure from the parish was a traumatic experience for himself, Mr Bello and the parishioners;

• Catholic Adult Education Centre:

  • Fr Flader, the Director of the Catholic Adult Education Centre, outlined the work of the Centre;
  • He stated that more than 200 students had attended courses this year, including correspondence courses;
  • These courses were geared to people involved in RCIA and catechetics;
  • Fr Flader said that the marriage courses run by the Centre were well attended;
  • He did not see the Centre competing with ACU or the CIS, but catering to a different market;
  • He said that the Bookstore was proving successful;
  • He hoped that the Centre would be self-sufficient and not draw on the CWF by 2005;
3. Concord: a written report of the deanery meeting held on September 30, 2004 at the Seminary of the Good Shepherd, was tabled. It noted the following:

• Year of the Eucharist:

  • The meeting discussed questions 19 and 20 in the Lineamenta on the Eucharist;
  • The responses were sent to Sr Carmel Pilcher, the Archdiocesan Director of Liturgy;

• Confirmation 2005:

  • The meeting continued its discussion on the details of Confirmation 2005;
4. City: a written report of the deanery meeting held on October 22,2004 was tabled. It noted the following:

• Galilee House:

  • Discussion centred on whether Galilee House should be run by a manager or spiritual director;
  • The meeting felt it was very important for priests to have a place to recuperate, especially those who had no place to go on their days off;
  • It was revealed that a priest of the Archdiocese had offered his services to be in charge of the Centre;

• Council of Priests elections:

  • Clarification was sought on the policy regarding the new elections to the Council of Priests;
  • Could the same people be re-elected or not?
  • This was not seen as a reflection on the current City deanery representative;

• Redfern Parish:

  • Discussion arose from the information in the last Council of Priests minutes;
  • The Archdiocese supplies $292,000 to the Aboriginal ministry; – the St Vincent’s community has no access to Aboriginal ministry monies
  • The meeting queried the removal of the $220 weekly allowance to the committee which supplied community lunch on Tuesdays and Thursdays;
  • 45-55 people attended these meals, including aboriginal and non-aboriginal people; – the typical attendance is around 100 people
  • The $220 had been given to the parish for over a year and was separate to the $292000;
  • The committee providing the lunches was struggling without the $220 per week;
  • None of the aboriginal elders involved with the meal could recall stating that they did not want the weekly allowance;
  • Could the Chancery contact Fr Peter Maher with the name of the elder who stated that the money was not needed?
  • It was noted that the loss incurred by Redfern Parish in the Pastoral Returns was the biggest in the Archdiocese, and almost double the next loss-making parish; the St Vincent’s community channels its financial support directly into areas more appropriate than the Sunday mass collection or the CWF
  • The loss of $26000 by Redfern was almost half of the loss of the Remuneration Fund;
  • The meeting queried why there were two priests at Redfern in the smallest parish in the Archdiocese when other small parishes had Parish Priests with non-parish commitments, e.g. Rosebery (Marriage Tribunal) and Newtown (University Chaplaincy).

Additional comments by the Church Mouse

5. Eastern: a written report of the meeting held at Waverley on Friday, August 18,2004 was tabled, It noted the following:

• Clergy Deployment and Parish Configuration:

  • The meeting discussed the report;
  • Members requested that parishioners be consulted and well prepared for changes;

• St Vincent de Paul Society:

  • The Society expressed concern regarding procedures for distributing food vouchers to the poor;
  • Each parish seemed to have a different method of distribution;

• Fr Charles Rue:

  • Fr Charles Rue from the Columban Fathers asked that deanery members promote the Far East magazine in their parishes;
  • He asked if he could speak at parishes, not as a financial appeal but to increase interest in the magazine:
  • Each parish responded positively to the suggestion, with the result that a speaker from the Columbans would speak in each parish in the near future;

• CWF Levies:

  • The new levies were met with “stunned disbelief”, especially Bondi Beach (increase from 21000 to 58000), Bondi (13000 to 30000), Waverley (12000 – 29000), Paddington (17000-30000) and Woollahra (31000-49000);
  • The model seemed to lack much needed information;
  • The issue would be the subject of continuing discussion.
6. Northern: a written report of the deanery meeting on October 22,2004 at Lane Cove presbytery was tabled, It noted the following:

• Parish Finances:

  • Mr Danny Casey and Mr Michael Moore from the Chancery addressed the meeting on issues relating to parish finances;
  • The dialogue and their responses to the anxieties of members were excellent;

• Partnership of Beauty Point, Clifton Gardens, Mosman and Neutral Bay:

  • A meeting would be held at Mosman presbytery on Friday evening, December 10, 2004 with Bishop Fisher and Monsignor Rayner to discuss the partnering of these parishes;

• Dinner for Parish Priests and Principals:

  • A dinner for Parish Priests and Principals of four schools in the deanery would be held on Friday, December 3 in Lane Cove Presby1ery;
  • The evening would provide an opportunity to discuss matters of mutual concern.
7. Randwick-Botany:

• No report, as the deanery had not met since the last meeting on August 17.

8. Ryde-Eastwood: a written report from the meeting on October 19,2004 at Marsfield Ryde was tabled. It noted the following:

• Year of the Eucharist:

  • The meeting discussed items 17 and 18 in accordance with the instructions from the Liturgy Office:
  • Fr Brian Byron led the discussion and took notes for a report to the Liturgy Office:
  • • Mgr Brian Rayner – Structure of the Chancery:
  • Mgr Brian Rayner informed the meeting of the structure of the chancery;
  • He identified some of the different operations of the chancery;
  • He explained the nature of his role and its distinction from the other areas of the chancery;
  • There was considerable discussion about the difficulties with the process of Acts of Extraordinary Administration, especially the changing of the forms;
  • It was suggested that these matters be held over until Danny Casey arrived to address the meeting;
  • Unfortunately, Danny was delayed and was not able to attend;
  • Brian encouraged priests to lodge a will with the chancery;
  • He expressed his support for priests, and encouraged us to contact him if we had matters of concern or needed a bit of time off along the way;

• Catholic Adult Education Centre – Fr John Flader:

  • Fr Flader attended the meeting in response to an invitation from the Dean;
  • Members expressed their concerns about some of the material coming from the CAEC, particularly the 2004,Lenten Program;
  • Priests relayed comments from their parishioners and expressed their own concerns that the program did not centre on the Sunday gospels, did not speak to the lived experience of people and emphasised sin excessively;
  • Members expressed concerns that the CAEC was duplicating courses that were already established elsewhere, e.g. at the Catholic Institute of Sydney, and that the offerings of the Centre should serve the people of Sydney first, rather than look to a wider audience;
  • Fr Flader expressed his appreciation for the invitation to attend the meeting and the feedback;
  • He distributed a document outlining the activities of the Centre;
  • He said that the L.UU, Lenten Program would focus on the gospels of year A and in the Year of the Eucharist, would relate to the Eucharist;
  • It would also return to the use of stories to speak to-the experiences of people;
  • Fr Flader explained that the CAEC courses tended to address a lower level than the CIS, and were well attended;
9. St George: a written report of the last deanery meeting held on October 27, 2004 was tabled. It noted the following:

• Confirmation 2005:

  • After some discussion, the priests felt that it was not necessary for Carmen Polifrone to come to a Deanery meeting with the promotional video;
  • It was suggested that the video be sent only to those parishes that requested it, rather than sending it to all parishes;
  • It was also felt that it would be better to have confirmation without the Mass as it was in 2000, as this would help bring out the link with the parish;

• Hospital Privacy Regulations:

  • The priests were concerned about the new privacy regulations at St George Hospital that no longer allowed members of the Pastoral Care Team to have access to lists showing patients’ religion;
  • As this issue involved government legislation, it was felt that the matter should be taken up with the Minister for Health;
  • At a local level, priests were encouraging parishioners to take the initiative if they had to go to hospital, and to ask for a priest or a pastoral carer, either when they were admitted or while in the ward:
  • The priests realised that this may not be effective for those who had been away from the Church for some time.

• Orthodox Children receiving the Sacraments:

  • The priests requested clarification on the issue of a Catholic parent asking for a child who was baptized Orthodox to be enrolled in a Catholic sacramental programme;
  • The following questions were raised:
    • How does an Orthodox child become Catholic?
    • Is an Orthodox child able to make Reconciliation and Holy Communion and remain Orthodox?
    • Is an Orthodox child who has made these sacraments considered Catholic?
    • Does it depend on whether or not the parents want them to be Catholic?
    • Does it depend on whether or not the Catholic parent practices the Catholic faith?
    • Does an Orthodox child require a formal reception into the Catholic Church?
    • Do the parents need to get permission from their Orthodox priest for their child to become Catholic?
    • Is an Orthodox child who has received Catholic sacraments and practices in the Catholic faith able to marry a non- Catholic in the Catholic Church
  • The issue was raised because many families attend sacramental programmes where one parent was Catholic and one Orthodox, the child was baptised Orthodox, and yet the Catholic parent wanted the child to be brought up as a Catholic.
10. Sutherland: a written report of the deanery meeting held on October 8, 2004 was tabled. It noted the following:

• Priests and Pastoral Councils gathering:

  • A suggestion was made that the Priests and Pastoral Councils from parishes in the Deanery have a gathering to discuss a chosen topic and have a chance to socialise;
  • The idea of the gathering would be to broaden our view of Church and share ideas:
  • Pastoral initiatives could flow from the discussion;
  • Issues for pastors in the area could be raised and reflected upon;
  • Some possible topics mentioned were the Eucharist and Leadership (how do we lead today?);
  • Expertise in particular areas could also be explored, e.g. Sacramental Programmes;
  • Further suggestions made were having an input facilitator and including parish staff;
  • All supported the idea and Michael McLean was to put a proposal together;

• Lenten Program 2005:

  • It was agreed to have a Lenten Programme in the deanery next year on similar lines to this year;

• RCIA gathering:

  • It was suggested that we have a gathering of all involved in the RCIA in the Shire after Easter 2005;

• Parish Financial Matters:

  • Danny Casey, Michael Moore, Brian Rayner and John Touzall were welcomed to the meeting;
  • A presentation and discussion on parish financial matters followed;

• Confirmation 2005:

  • Carmen Polifrone and Fr. Martin Monaghan gave a brief overview of Confirmation 2005;
11. Western: a written report of the deanery meeting held on October 27,2004 was tabled. It noted the following:

• Cannes Hill Parish:

  • Pat Hurley was on sick leave from the parish;
  • There was no supply/administrator at present and Noel Short was signing the cheques;
  • The situation raised issues around the support of priests who are sick, and the support of their parishes;

• Council or Priests Minutes:

  • Could an ‘executive summary’ of the Council of Priests minutes be prepared?
  • At present there was a lot of reading and a good chance of overlooking the important points;

• Confirmation 2005:

  • Carmen Polifrone spoke to the meeting about Confirmation 2005;
  • A number of concerns were raised:
    • Why is Confirmation within mass?
    • If it’s going to be mass, why not a morning session?
    • Why just two sessions?
    • The problem of getting final numbers in by February;
    • Transportation problems: in 2000, we had to share buses in the west, which won’t be possible this year as the sessions are too close together.

• Parish Financial Issues:

  • Danny Casey and Michael Moore addressed the meeting;
  • the problems of funding secretarial and accounting support were raised;

• Catholic Adult Education Centre:

  • John Flader spoke to the meeting.
12. Migrant Chaplains:

• No report.

13. Priests on Lesser Duties:

• No report.

Responses to the reports:

• Deacon Elect Mr Jesus Bello:

  • The Archbishop outlined the decision for Mr Bello’s return to Spain;
  • The decision related to Mr Bello’s ongoing discernment between ministry as a diocesan priest and as part of the neo-catechumenal way;
  • Mr Bello had joined a neo-catechumenate team in Spain;
  • He had spoken at all Sunday masses at Greenacre prior to his departure, but such situations were always difficult.

• Redfern Parish:

  • The Cardinal stated that he was satisfied with what the priests were trying to do at Redfern parish;
  • He said that it was the most needy and difficult parish in the Archdiocese;
  • He said that the allocation of two priests of the neo-catechumenate indicated the importance of the parish to the Archdiocese, and the commitment of the neo-catecumenate to the poor;
  • He identified some of the difficulties that the priests had to deal with in the parish:
  • Mgr Rayner said that he had visited the parish and made the following observations:
    • The social problems in Redfern were immense;
    • The Soup Kitchen that provided lunch two days a week was a matter for the local parish and parish priest;
    • The Kitchen was situated in the church;
    • Brian had representation from a member of the aboriginal community to say that the kitchen was demeaning for the people there;
    • There was conflict among different groups within the aboriginal community;
    • The church itself was in urgent need of attention, and the presbytery was a condemned building;
    • Attempts to introduce change in the community were often met with intimidation;
    • The core congregation comprised only a few local aboriginal people, with most coming from outside the parish borders;
    • He invited clergy to contact the Parish Priest to arrange a visit to Redfern Parish if they wished;
  • Debate followed about whether the strategies of the Archdiocese in relation to Redfern Parish and the styles of priestly ministry employed there were sensitive to the unique nature and history of the parish;

• Sacraments of Initiation and Orthodox children:

  • The Cardinal informed the Council that Orthodox children should not be enrolled in the sacraments of initiation unless they were formally received into the Catholic Church;
  • In such cases, parishes needed to take the children through a formal process of reception;
  • In the case of primary children, both parents should give written permission for the reception of their child into the Catholic Church;
  • The same procedure held for children from Eastern Catholic Rites;
  • The Council suggested that the Ecumenical Commission be approached regarding this issue:
  • The Cardinal agreed to approach the Commission;

• Galilee House:

  • Mgr Rayner asked that any priest who was interested in managing Galilee House contact him:
  • The Cardinal reiterated his wish that Galilee House be operational;
  • The Bishops were approaching some priests to see if they were interested in this ministry:
  • It was suggested that the precise purpose of Galilee House needed to be clarified, because its role in the past made it unclear whether it was a place for priests to recreate. or a place where priests discerned whether they wished to continue in their ministry;

• Hospital Visitation:

  • Mgr Rayner informed the Council that he was part of a discussion with Mr Peter Wong, MLC and the Chaplaincy Advisory Committee regarding the difficulties that Privacy Legislation was creating for hospital chaplains;
  • The Bishops would discuss the issue with the Committee over the next few weeks;

• Cannes Hill Parish:

  • Mgr Rayner informed the Council that the strategy for Cannes Hill depended on Fr Pat Hurley’s prognosis;
  • Frs Milani and Short were looking after the parish at present;
  • An administrator would be appointed if Fr Hurley’s prognosis was likely to make him absent from the parish for a significant period.
ITEM 5: SPIRITUAL RENEWAL AND PASTORAL PRIORITIES COMMITTEE

• Fr Paul Monkerud, in the absence of Bishop Julian Porteous, Chair of the Committee, gave a verbal report;

• The work of the Committee had focused entirely on overseeing the organisation of the Clergy Forum tomorrow (October 28), in consultation with the Committee for the Continuing Education of Clergy;

• He thanked Mgr Vince Redden, Frs Paul Crowley and John Usher for their invaluable assistance to the Committee in its organisation of the Forum;

• He encouraged all clergy to attend the Forum;

ITEM 6: COMMITTEE FOR THE CONTINUING EDUCATION OF CLERGY

• Mgr Vince Redden, the Chair of the Committee, gave a verbal report:

• The Committee had focused on the organization of the Clergy Forum, in collaboration with the Spiritual Renewal and Pastoral Priorities Committee;

• The Forum was planned for tomorrow, Thursday, October 28, 2004 at the Le Montage Conference Centre;

• Over 130 clergy had indicated that they would be present;

• Noelene Veness had been commissioned to assist with the organization and running of the Forum;

• Mgr Redden gave a synopsis of the program for the day;

• He hoped that the Committee for the Continuing Education of Clergy would meet as soon as possible after the Forum to ensure that the momentum of the Forum was maintained;

• This would avoid repeating the situation that occurred after the Clergy Forum at Windsor in October, 2003, when momentum was lost because the recommendations of the Forum were not taken up soon enough;

ITEM 7: ITEMS CARRYING OVER OR ARISING FROM PREVIOUS MINUTES

a) Council of Priests Statutes:

• The Council of Priests Statutes had not been updated since March 31, 1988;

• Revision of the statues would clarify appointment and reappointment procedures;

• A sub-committee, comprising Mgr Rayner, Frs Monkerud and Maunsell was appointed to study the existing statutes and to present a proposal to the Council regarding new statutes;

b) Clergy Long Service, Sabbatical and Annual Leave:

• Mgr Rayner informed the Council that the report from the sub-committee of the Council of Priests would be presented to the next Bishops’ Conference;

c) Board of Management Matters:

• Mgr Kerry Bayada, Chair of the Board of Management, informed the Council that the Annual General Meeting went smoothly;

• There were no significant items of concern;

d) University of Notre Dame Update:

• The Cardinal made the following comments:

  • There was as yet no signed agreement between the Archdiocese and the University of Notre Dame;
  • He was keen to sign in the "long term Catholicity" of the project;
  • Planning was continuing on the Broadway site;
  • In relation to the Darlinghurst site, there was a public meeting on site while he was overseas;
  • The University was proposing to maintain the church as a church;
  • The matter was proceeding with a "little more turbulence" than normal.

e) Tribute to Bishop Geoffrey Robinson:

• Mgr Redden reported that Bishop Robinson suggested that his tribute be combined with the one for Bishop Cremin next year;

• Bishop Cremin was happy with this proposal.

f) Confirmation 2005:

• Bishop Fisher informed the Council that the organisation for Confirmation 2005 was on track;

• The parishes had been faxed with the details;

• The number of candidates looked to be up by 20% on Confirmation 2000;

• The Cardinal had written to parishes confirming that Confirmation 2005 would take place next year;

• A contract was signed with the Superdome;

• A video had been produced for information and marketing purposes;

• A web site had been established;

• Information evenings would be conducted in parishes throughout the Archdiocese in November; The Committees were working well.

g) Priests on Lesser Duties:

• The question related to how the Council of Priests could better facilitate the representation of Priests on Lesser Duties at Council meetings;

• The Council referred the matter to the sub-committee investigating the Statutes;

h) CIS Representation on the Council of Priests

• The Cardinal informed the Council that the Bishops Committee had decided not to invite CIS representation on the Council;

• The Cardinal pointed out that a number of members of the CIS Senate sat on the Council of Priests.

i) Use of Parish Facilities in relation to Insurance Cover:

• Mgr Brian Rayner would approach Catholic Church Insurances for clarification of the issues related to the use of parish facilities by parish and non-parish groups, and report back to the Council;

j) Computer Compatible Forms for Parish Statistics

• Mgr Rayner would investigate the possibility of the Chancery designing a form whereby parishes could more easily fill out the Annual Parish Statistics;

k) Voluntary Survey of Priests’ Qualifications, Pastoral Experiences and Hopes:

• A suggestion some time ago from Concord deanery was tftat priests be able to answer a voluntary survey seeking their qualifications, pastoral experiences and hopes;

• Mgr Rayner would refer the suggestion to the Priests Advisory Committee;

• He added that in his experience, some priests were reticent to provide any personal information to the Chancery.

ITEM 8: OTHER BUSINESS

a) The Chancery

• One of the members of the Council requested an outline of the organisation of the Chancery;

• Mgr Rayner informed the Council that there were three main sections:

  • Archdiocesan Administration and Property (led by Mr Danny Casey);
  • Administration of Parish Life and Clergy (led by Mgr Rayner);
  • Cardinal’s business;

• He asked clergy not to mark mail to the Cardinal as "personal" unless they wished the Cardinal to open it;

• In such cases, the delay in reply could be significant;

• He also asked clergy not to send mail to the Cathedral unless it was specifically for a member of the Cathedral staff.

b) Ombudsman:

• The Cardinal informed the Council that the report presented by the Ombudsman yesterday was critical of the Catholic Commission for Employment Relations (CCER);

• The CCER was the nominated "lead agency" for the Catholic Church in relations with the Ombudsman;

• The relationship between the CCER and the Ombudsman had deteriorated recently;

• The Ombudsman has refused to work with the CCER as the lead agency;

• The situation was being addressed by the CCER and the Bishops;

• The Cardinal added that the issues of concern to the Ombudsman related to the past.

c) Sacraments of Christian Initiation:

• It was suggested that the issues relating to the initiation of Orthodox children and the differences in procedures and practices between parishes, and particularly between dioceses in Sydney, highlighted the need for a comprehensive Archdiocesan statement on the Sacraments of Initiation.

d) Cardinal’s Book Launch:

• The Cardinal informed the Council that his new book would be launched tomorrow;
It contained excerpts from his writings.

The meeting closed at 12.30pm. Next Meeting: Wednesday. December 1, 2004.

This is a true and correct record.

Mgr Kerry Bayada Chairman, Fr Paul Monkerud Secretary

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