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WA Religious Education Director named on Australian Catholic Bishops Plenary Council Executive Committee


Director, Religious Education at Catholic Education WA Dr Debra Sayce has last week been named as a member of a new Executive Committee to ensure the successful preparation, celebration and implementation of the 2020 Plenary Council. Photo: Supplied.

Catholic Education Western Australia’s (CEWA) own Director, Religious Education Dr Debra Sayce has last week been named as a member of a new Executive Committee to ensure the successful preparation, celebration and implementation of the 2020 Plenary Council.

The Bishops Commission for the Plenary Council announced the names of the Plenary Council Executive Committee last week, following an extensive process of consultation across the Australian Church to ensure diversity.

Speaking to The eRecord this week, Dr Sayce said it has been her grassroots experiences at her parish of East Victoria Park, participation on various committees that support the work of the Church locally and nationally in the areas of education, clergy and disability, through to her role as Director, Religious Education at CEWA that have presented her with a depth and breadth of the Church.

“I would say my learning, formational experiences and diverse relationships forged in these committees have certainly shaped me as a Catholic woman,” Dr Sayce said.

With more than 32 years experience in education, Dr Sayce said she is looking forward to learning so much more about the Australian Catholic Church and to contributing a Catholic educator’s perspective to the Commission.

ACBC Vice President and Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge, said that the Plenary Council will play a crucial role in shaping the Church’s future in Australia.

“This is no time for the Church to be putting up signs that say ‘business as usual’,” Archbishop Coleridge said.

“If we needed any proof, then the Royal Commission has shown that.

“We need to face the facts, and in the light of the facts, which aren’t always friendly, we have to make big decisions about the future,” he said.

“The Plenary Council will place the Church on a sound footing to respond to what is not merely an era of change but a change of era.”

Members of the Executive Committee will aim to bring a variety of gifts, competencies and experience to the work of the Executive Committee.

Other members of the Executive Committee include Mr Daniel Ang from Broken Bay, Mr Shayne Bennett from Brisbane, Br Ian Cribb SJ from Broken Bay, Dr Gemma Cruz from Melbourne, Sr Moya Hanlen FDNSC from Sydney, Ms Sally Hood from Brisbane, Mr John Lochowiak from Adelaide, Dr Brigid McKenna from Hobart, Ms Sarah Moffatt from Adelaide

Sr Grace Roclawska CSFN from Parramatta, Rev Dr Ormond Rush from Townsville, Mrs Theresa Simon from Sydney (Maronite Church) and Dr Nigel Zimmerman from Parramatta.

The Plenary Council is a response to the call of Saint Pope John Paul II that the Church of the third millennium discerns what the Spirit has been saying and to put into practice pastoral plans with the help of the people of God to prepare for the future.

It also carries forward the call of Pope Francis for the Church to become truly synodal in its engagement with the whole Catholic community.

Rev Dr Ian Waters, Senior Fellow of the Catholic Theological College, Melbourne will serve as Historical and Canonical Consultant to the Committee. Initially and on an ad interim basis the Committee will be chaired by Archbishop Mark Coleridge, Chair of the Bishops Commission.

Membership of the Bishops Commission for the Plenary Council includes: Archbishop Mark Coleridge, Archbishop Philip Wilson, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB, Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFMConv and Bishop Michael Kennedy.