The President of the Federation of Catholic Bishops Conferences of Oceania says the 10 non-bishop members from the region chosen for the upcoming Synod of Bishops will help amplify the voice of the Catholic population.
Earlier this year, Pope Francis invited each of the seven regions of the world to nominate 20 people who have been involved in local initiatives for the Synod of Bishops for a Synodal Church as possible additions to the Synod’s membership.
Pope Francis chose 10 members from each region from the list of nominees, seeking to create a cross-section of the Church in terms of age, sex, vocation and other demographic factors.
Dr Sandie Cornish has been chosen as an expert advisor. Photo: ACBC.
“There was no shortage of faithful and qualified people in Oceania who could bring their lived experience to the two sessions of the Synod of Bishops in October this year and October next year,” said Bishop Anthony Randazzo, who was elected FCBCO president in February.
“Our region is one of the most diverse in the world, when you consider the 20 or so nations in this corner of the globe. That diversity enriches the Church in Oceania and it will do so at the Synod gatherings in Rome.”
UNDA Professor Renee Kohler-Ryan, second from left, is one of the 10 non-bishop members from the region chosen for the upcoming Synod of Bishops to help amplify the voice of the Catholic population. Photo: Archdiocese of Perth / Michelle Tan.
The 10 Oceania non-bishop members appointed by Pope Francis are: Mr Manuel Beazley, New Zealand; Dr Trudy Dantis, Australia; Mr John Lochowiak, Australia; Fr Denis Nacorda, New Zealand; Mrs Kelly Paget, Australia; Sr Mary Angela Perez RSM, Pacific; Fr Sijeesh Pullenkunnel, Syro-Malabar Eparchy; Dr Susan Sela, Pacific; Ms Grace Wrakia, Papua New Guinea/Solomon Islands; Professor Renee Kohler-Ryan, Australia.
Those members will join the following bishop members from Oceania, chosen by their episcopal conferences, who will participate in the Synod:
Australia: Bishop Shane Mackinlay; Archbishop Patrick O’Regan
New Zealand: Archbishop Paul Martin SM
Papua New Guinea/Solomon Islands: Bishop Dariusz Kaluza MSF
CEPAC (Pacific): Bishop Paul Donoghue SM
Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP, shown her meeting Pope Francis in 2022, will participate in the Synod as a member of the Council of the Synod of Bishops. Photo: Thierry Bonaventura/Vatican Media.
Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, will serve as one of nine delegated Synod presidents. Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP will participate in the Synod as a member of the Council of the Synod of Bishops.
Bishop Randazzo, as president of the FCBCO, will also attend the Synod sessions along with other presidents of continental episcopal conferences.
The Catholic Church in Oceania has been seeking ways to work more collaboratively to carry out Christ’s mission in the region, Bishop Randazzo explained.
Pastoral Research Office Director Dr Trudy Dantis is one of the 10 non-bishop members from the region chosen for the upcoming Synod of Bishops to help amplify the voice of the Catholic population. Photo: ACBC.
The Synod of Bishops process, through its integration into this year’s assembly of the FCBCO and now the additional representation at the Synod sessions, has assisted in that effort.
“With Pope Francis’ leadership and his assistance, we have been invited into the Synod of Bishops at a local, a national and a regional level, and we now move to the international phase,” Bishop Randazzo said.
“By working with the other episcopal conferences in Oceania and with our Eastern brothers and sisters, we have been able to embrace this idea of ‘walking together’, seeing how the Church in our region can respond to the call for communion, participation and mission.”
Adjunct Prof Susan Pascoe has been chosen as an expert advisor. Photo: Supplied.
Five experts and facilitators have also been appointed from Oceania: Dr Sandie Cornish; Br Ian Cribb SJ; Adjunct Professor Susan Pascoe, who served on the Synod of Bishops’ methodology commission; Fr Asaeli Raass SVD; and Fr Ormond Rush, who served on the Synod of Bishops’ theological commission. Brief biographies can also be found for the experts and facilitators here.
Rev Fr Ormond Rush has been chosen as an expert advisor. Photo: Thierry Bonaventura/Vatican Media.
Bishop Randazzo said the inclusion of that group of experts demonstrates the esteem with which the Synod Secretariat holds theologians and other leading thinkers in the Church in Oceania.
“We are a young Church in comparison to many other parts of the world, but we are a Church of people of many and varied talents, which will now feature more prominently on the global stage,” he said.
Jesuit Br Ian Cribb SJ has been chosen as an expert advisor. Photo: Supplied.
Pope appoints hundreds to attend Synod of Bishops on Synodality
By Carol Glatz
Pope Francis has appointed more than 450 participants, including dozens of religious men and women and laypeople from around the world, to attend the first General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on Synodality in October.
And that list is not even complete, Cardinal Mario Grech, Secretary-General of the Synod of Bishops, told reporters at a Vatican news conference 7 July. More names are going to be added to the list of non-voting members, such as experts and representatives of non-Catholic Christian communities, he said.
For now, the list of voting members is complete, numbering 363 cardinals, bishops, priests, religious and lay men and women -- a first in the history of the synod. Pope Francis made significant changes to who can be a voting member of the synod on synodality and he gave women the right to vote in the synod.
Out of the 364 members who can vote, which includes the Holy Father, 54 are women - either lay or religious; the number of cardinals appointed as members also is 54.
More than a quarter of all the voting members, that is 26.4 per cent, are not bishops, according to the 21-page list of the appointments released July 7 by the Vatican.
Those the Holy Father appointed to take part in the 4 – 29 October synod include 169 cardinals or bishops representing national bishops' conferences; 20 cardinals or bishops representing Eastern Catholic churches; five cardinals or bishops representing regional federations of bishops' conferences; and 20 heads of Vatican Dicasteries, which includes one layman, Paolo Ruffini, Prefect of the Dicastery for Communication.
Another novelty is a large group of non-bishop voting members who represent the "continental assemblies" and are named "witnesses of the synodal process." There are 10 members in each group divided by continent: Africa; North America; Latin America; Asia; Eastern Churches and the Middle East; Europe; and Oceania, for a total of 70 individuals who are all priests, religious or lay men and women.
Among the 16 who are part of the synod's ordinary council include: US Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark, New Jersey; Canadian Cardinal Gérald Lacroix of Québec; and Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher.
Nine members will serve as delegate presidents of the assembly and they include: Australian Catholic Bishop’s Conference President and Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SBD, Bishop Flores of Brownsville; Coptic Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac Sedrak; one priest, Italian Father Giuseppe Bonfrate; one nun, Mexican Sister of St Joseph María de los Dolores Palencia; and one consecrated laywoman, Momoko Nishimura of Japan. Pope Francis will serve as president and Cardinal Mario Grech as the synod's secretary-general.
The list of nonvoting members is not complete, Cardinal Grech said.
That list released July 7 included two spiritual assistants: British Dominican Father Timothy Radcliffe and Italian Benedictine Mother Maria Ignazia Angelini. All synod participants will be expected to attend a three-day retreat before the synod begins in early October.
All of the 57 nonvoting "experts and facilitators" listed as of July 7 are priests and religious and lay men and women.
The theme of the synod is: "For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission," and synod members will be called upon to continue to carry forward a "process of spiritual discernment" that was begun in 2021 and continue with a second synod assembly in 2024.