Claire Corlett

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Archbishop Fisher – Parish2020

Archbishop Fisher – Parish2020


My Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Greetings in this Jubilee Year of Mercy! I am filled with gratitude for the support
and care you have shown me during this short time that I have been
blessed to serve as your Archbishop, especially in my recent illness and my recovery.
I have now begun my gradual return to work and am grateful
for your ongoing prayers. When I was installed as Archbishop I had the opportunity to share with you my hopes
for our Church in Sydney. My hope for a Church in which the Gospel is preached with joy,
the wisdom of our tradition mined with fidelity, the sacraments celebrated with dignity and
welcome, and the seminaries, convents and youth groups teeming with new life; a Church
in which our parishes, chaplaincies and educational institutions are true centres of the new evangelization,
our laity theologically and spiritually well-formed, our outreach to the needy effective and growing,
and God glorified above all. By God’s grace our parishes have nurtured the faith of hundreds of thousands of people
across the years, and as we give thanks for the past, we must plan for the future. I want
to ensure that the people of Sydney continue to encounter Christ and grow in their faith and
I am convinced the Christian communities found in our parishes remain our
most vital asset to facilitate this. In light of this vision, we have begun work on ‘Parish 2020’, a new pastoral plan
that aims to renew and strengthen parishes for our future, and develop vibrant Catholic
communities committed to both an inward focus on a deepening relationship with Christ, and
an outward orientation toward proclaiming the Gospel and reaching those who do not form
an active part of our parishes. ‘Parish 2020’ has been entrusted with the task of listening to our priests, lay leaders and people in order to renew our pastoral plan; bring the best demographic and planning expertise to bear upon the distribution of our deaneries, parishes,
schools and agencies; reduce silos and promote greater collaboration; and ensure our parishes are sustainable and well supported. In March this year, following extensive research by the working group, I announced a new structure
for the Archdiocese, with newly configured deaneries, and appointed deans with clearly
defined responsibilities. I have also appointed Auxiliary Bishops for certain regions to assist
me in the pastoral care of the Archdiocese. Over time, the new Deaneries will look at
ways in which greater collaboration can be fostered to enhance our ministry. The Archdiocesan
Map with the new deaneries can be viewed on our Sydney Archdiocese website.
( www.sydneycatholic.org ) Over the next 12 months, the working group
will be reviewing Parishes with the aim of providing proposals on any changes that may
be required to best fulfil our mission. I will consider these proposals and then engage
in a period of consultation and feedback from you to seek your wisdom in making good decisions that take into account the circumstances of each parish. Decisions on parish reconfigurations and ways
of strengthening our ministry are not decisions to be taken lightly and need time, consultation,
prayer, and careful discernment.  There is a prayer for ‘Parish 2020’ I invite you
to pray as we move forward together in this new exciting chapter of our history. After a period of prayerful discernment with
clergy, I expect to come back to you next year to seek structured
feedback from parishioners. As I pray daily for each one of you, I thank
you for everything that you do for me, for the Archdiocese of Sydney,
and for your parish family.

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