Dear Colleagues

All four regional forums for clergy on active assignment have now been held with 131 priests in attendance, and three of the four meetings with principals have also taken place.

A rich range of issues have been raised at the meetings, and there is a growing sense of the purpose of the proposed incorporated body and the factors that must be considered as it is created. More and more, as people talk and ask questions, it becomes clear that the purpose of any company formed will be to serve the schools that are the vehicles for the educational mission of parishes in the Archdiocese of Melbourne. The word cloud below provides an indication of some of the key terms and themes. Further detail is available on the website for those who wish to drill a little deeper into the issues that have been raised.

While we often refer to a general purpose of advancing Catholic education and improving outcomes for all students, increasingly both principals and priests are acknowledging the potential of a renewal and affirmation of the role of local context – the parish – as the place where that general purpose is fulfilled, and how that local context makes all the difference. While the value of the parish school mission is affirmed, so too is the critical importance of the Catholic schools that are governed by other Church authorities. Our governance arrangements must seek to enhance our unity as a sector, rather than detracting from it.

The website focuses on our purpose of stewarding the mission and aims to provide information, be a site of input and dialogue, and enable appropriate and current communication, as requested by stakeholders.

In the webpages under ‘About’, a rough road map of the year ahead is outlined, as well as an indication of the drivers and initial response, all of which must remain agile to the guidance of the Steering Committee and open to the input of stakeholders. The ‘Consultation’ page houses both the input and output sections of the consultation process. This will expand as the Steering Committee meetings in December widen the dialogue with stakeholders in various ways, including shared forums with principals and parish priests in Term 1 of 2020, focus groups and working parties.

We invite you to visit the website now and as it develops, while we move forward together in this governance process.

Jim Miles
Acting Executive Director