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“Walking in the footsteps of the Good Shepherd” Archdiocese growing from strength to strength through Plan implementation


Archbishop Timothy Costelloe speaking to guests who attended the launch of The Way Forward, the consultation phase of the Archdiocesan Plan, that took place at St Mary’s Cathedral in September 2015. Photo: Ron Tan.

A little more than one year on from the launch of what is the biggest renewal for the Archdiocese of Perth in many years, a stream of results are coming to the surface.

Launched by Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB in June 2016, the Archdiocesan Plan follows the theme as initiated by the Archbishop at his Installation in 2012, when he said that ‘the greatest task and challenge we face today is to return the Church to Christ and return Christ to the Church.’

“What this really means is that we must become in practice what we are in principle, Disciples of Jesus,” Archbishop Costelloe said, in his Welcome address for the Plan.

“More than ever we must make sure that Christ, the real Christ, is at the heart of everything we say, everything we do and everything we are.”

Archdiocesan CEO-Administration Greg Russo confirmed to The eRecord this week that given the steady implementation of the Archdiocesan Plan the words of Archbishop Costelloe are coming to fruition.

“All six implementation groups are now operational and each group has a broad representation including clergy, both male and female lay people and Archdiocesan staff,” Mr Russo said.

“The Implementation Groups are also looking into the long terms needs of the Archdiocese and setting up structures to achieve long term growth and renewal,” he said.

Those assisting in the priority areas include Communications Manager Jamie O’Brien for Effective Communication, former Parish Priest Fr Peter Bianchini looking after Support for Clergy, Fr Nino Vinciguerra for the area of Strengthening and Revitalising parishes, and Archdiocesan Manager Strategic Implementation Support Renay Grech, who is assisting in all the above areas together with Archdiocesan Growth and Development, Outreach to Those in Need, and Adult Faith Formation.


The Archdiocesan Plan Co-ordinating Group Chair, Danny Murphy; Executive Officer, Jane Kikeros; Archbishop Timothy Costelloe; and Archdiocese of Perth CEO-Administration, Greg Russo. Photo: Ron Tan.

Archbishop Costelloe is directly responsible for all matters related to the area of Professional Standards.

Mr Russo went on to outline the progress in the different areas.

“In the area of Archdiocesan Growth and Development, we are currently examining how to respond to the population growth in the southern and eastern corridor of Perth and how to meet the future pastoral needs of people in these areas,” Mr Russo said.

A new faith formation network has been set up to assist the needs of Adult Faith Formation.

“The group will be examining the faith formation needs of Catholics and has a broad representation from Catholic agencies across the diocese.”

Speaking for the area of Strengthening and Revitalising Parishes, Co-ordinator Fr Nino Vinguerra explained that following the finalisation of a new Parish Pastoral Council Constitution, a handbook is now also being developed to support the introduction of the constitution.

“Consideration is now being given to identifying pilot parishes in which to trial the introduction of the new constitution and how they might be used to drive parish renewal,” Fr Vinciguerra explained.

With regard to Support for Clergy, Director Fr Peter Bianchini said there is a special emphasis on seminary training and support for priests who are new to the ministry or a parish.

“However we are also looking at the ongoing personal, spiritual development of priests,” Fr Bianchini said.

In the area of Effective Communication, Archdiocesan Communications Manager Jamie O’Brien reported several tasks have now been completed, with a new phase of tasks set to be underway by the end of 2017.


36-year-old Rosario Murace, who has utilised the services offered by Archdiocsan agency, The Shopfront. Speaking on the one year anniversary of the Archdiocesan Plan, coordinators of the key priority areas noted that the nature of the Plan has been for the peoples of God looking after the peoples of God. Photo: Jamie O’Brien.

“This includes a regular video presentation by the Archbishop, appointment of appropriate spokespersons and targeted training and support for clergy in new technology and social media,” Mr O’Brien said

“And looking to the future, the group will be examining the communication needs of the other implementation groups,” he said.

In the area of Social Outreach, Vicar Dr Terry Wilson (Archdiocesan Chief Operations Officer) noted, as a result of the Plan, two new services have been launched in the social services area to cover identified gaps in the services offered in the Archdiocese. 

“A number of other initiatives have brought the various Catholic agencies together to enhance communication and cooperation between them including the commencement of the Social Outreach Network, a CEO consultative group and the first Agencies’ Social Outreach Mass,” Dr Wilson said.

“Planning is well underway for a collaborative conference of all Archdiocesan agencies in October to further facilitate collaborative structures and ventures, the sharing of resources and expertise and to foster innovation between these services,” he said.

“The nature of the Archdiocesan Plan is very much this, the peoples of God looking after each other,” Mr Grech said.

“I look forward to working with the all the implementation groups to assist them in examining new possibilities and ways for the clergy and laity to work more closely.

“Deepening our connections with the Catholic Education system and schools will also be essential in enabling the relationships of all, including our youth, to be encouraged, developed and strengthened.”

“One suggestion being investigated is around parishes sharing resources and taking care of each other in small hubs so that the challenge of providing pastoral care can be shared more equally,” he said.

Mr Grech went on to speak about how we can all work together to see the Church grow and even thrive, despite the ongoing challenges of globalisation and secularisation.

“I believe there are many challenges, but if we as a Church listen to the needs of people and spend time in understanding these needs, we can create parishes that are responsive and supportive,” Mr Grech said.

“Increased collaboration and cooperation between parishes will enable all of us to share our talents, knowledge and resources and ensure those in smaller or less resourced parishes are supported by their brothers and sisters in other parishes. This is at the heart of our faith,” he said.