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What does it mean to be an Inclusive, Participatory and Synodal Church?

During the first of six diocesan Zoom reflection sessions on the different Plenary Council thematic papers, people from across the Diocese reflected on what this means to the Catholic Church in Sandhurst.
The reflections offered by the group say loudy and clearly that as a Diocese, we are doing many wonderful things to be inclusive, participatory and synodal in our local parishes, but there is always room for ‘better’.

Many of the suggestions for attention mentioned in the thematic paper are able to be implemented on a local parish level, as well as being part of the conversation at a national level. There is no need to wait for the assembly.

The paper calls for a “change of attitude and culture within the Church in Australia, so that all persons are welcomed and recognised as the faithful move together with Christ and on the way of Christ.” It is encouraging to hear that, in many ways, Sandhurst is already on this path.
That does not mean we cannot continue to do more and to do what we are already doing ‘better’. Particularly in the light of Covid, we need to find a wide variety of new ways to stay connected as a community, to make sure everyone is included and able to participate.

All those who attended the Zoom session offered valuable reflection that will aid in further formation for each of the Sandhurst Delegates at the future Plenary Council Assemblies.


Fr Doroteo Bravi CFD, Community of the Sons and Daughters of God

I appreciate the idea of “encountering Christ” as the foundation of our experience of being part of the Church. A real encounter with Christ is transforming. I think one of the reasons not many people come to Church is because they didn’t have this experience or for some reason couldn’t ‘keep it.’ We need to continue to experience Jesus in order to convey His image and love to others. 

I know for a fact that some people tend to feel excluded because they carry in themselves a wound of rejection. I wish as a Church, and perhaps as specific teams, we can learn more and more how to facilitate an authentic encounter with Jesus that may transform the lives of all – especially those most broken ... I would especially recommend all good forms of prayer ministry in that regard.

I really value the scenario of a Church where we all (those in ministry and faithful) can honestly share our struggles and support one another in the spirit /ideal of James 5:16: “confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed.”


Kristian Joy Tangso, Sandhurst Youth Ministry

Upon listening to the group reflection on the theme of being an Inclusive, Participatory and Synodal Church, I could hear the Holy Spirit prompting us to foster a deeper sense of community, to embrace the gifts of each member of Christ’s body, and to understand how we can better journey with young people as we grow in our faith and love for Jesus.

We are being asked to open our minds and hearts to the transforming love of God and tap into His divine creativity as we strive to build homes, a place of belonging, friendship, warmth, charity and joy, not only within our families, but particularly within our local parishes and wider communities.

Furthermore, celebrating the uniqueness each individual brings to a community as faithful stewards of God’s gifts, humbly listening to the shared wisdom of our elders, and being attentive to and generously responding to the needs of our youth, all invite us in the present moment to walk joyfully together with Jesus Christ along the path towards a hope-filled future.


The next Reflection session will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday 9 December. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to participate.

Ruth Lawlor
Executive Officer, Sandhurst Plenary Council Committee
and Sandhurst Delegate for Plenary Council