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Tuesday, 16 May 2023 11:29

Sandhurst Mission and Pastoral Council Prepares for Mission

The Sandhurst Mission and Pastoral Council (SMPC) held its inaugural meeting on Friday 28 April and Saturday 29 April. Council members spent time in prayer, getting to know each other, practising authentic listening and dialogue and considering the strategic directions identified in the Final Report on the Preparation and Consultation Meetings for the SMPC. 


The Sandhurst Mission and Pastoral Council (SMPC) held its inaugural meeting on Friday 28 April (6pm-8:30 p.m.) and Saturday 29 April (8:30 a.m.-3.00 p.m.) at the Pastoral Centre in St Brendan’s Parish, Shepparton. As a chair has not yet been appointed, the meeting was expertly facilitated by Mr Dean Mason from Melbourne. Following an Acknowledgement of Country, introductions and a welcome and Grace before Meals from Bishop Shane, the members spent time sharing dinner, getting to know each other, outlining their hopes for the meeting and preparing for the next day’s business.

After a good night’s rest, the members gathered in prayer and, having completed administrative onboarding requirements for diocesan volunteers, settled into a full agenda. Guided by the Council Statutes and Interim Meeting Protocols, the first part of the day included an exercise designed to focus attention on each Council member’s capacity for authentic listening and dialogue as well as reflection on the kinds of behaviours that will strengthen the Council’s engagement and progress over the next three years. In the late morning, Council members prayerfully considered the strategic directions identified on page 29 of the Final Report on the Preparation and Consultation Meetings for the SMPC. They were reminded by Bishop Shane of the relevance for their work of the decrees of the 5th Plenary Council of Australia and the terms of reference for their implementation, as well as the data gathered from participants in the Diocesan Assembly held on 15 February this year. A highlight of the day was the celebration of Mass in the Nun’s chapel at St Brendan’s Church, with music for the service provided by local parishioner, Loretta Shannon.

After lunch the members considered the relationship of the SMPC to some of the other key advisory bodies in the Diocese: the Diocesan Finance Council, the College of Consultors, and the Council of Priests. Bishop Shane outlined his expectation that one member of the SMPC will join the Diocesan Finance Council and asked SMPC members to consider nominating two people to attend meetings of the College of Consultors. Bishop Shane indicated that nominations for those attending the College of Consultors could be of lay members of the SMPC or of other suitable lay people in the Diocese. Significant time was also spent considering the attributes of an SMPC Chair. The Chair of the SMPC will be a crucial role and form the Council Executive along with Bishop Shane and the Executive Officer (Dr Chris Cotter). One of the homework tasks for members in the month of May will relate to considering nominations for these advisory bodies and for the position of SMPCChair.

The day concluded with an Examen of Conscience and prayer, with each member offering a simple reflection sharing how they were feeling at the conclusion of the day. The meeting was a very positive start for the three-year term of this Council. Members came away from the meeting feeling energised and encouraged. The meeting would not have been possible without the excellent work of our Chancery staff, Leslie Cooper (Project Support Officer, Mission and Pastoral Life) and Tim Nolan (Executive Assistant to the Bishop). Leslie provided logistical assistance for the meeting with Tim giving secretarial support, as well as working closely with Leslie on logistics.

Next Meeting:

The second meeting of the SMPC will be held in Shepparton on Friday 14 July and Saturday 15 July 2023. An important item on the agenda will be the appointment of a Council Chair by Bishop Shane.

SMPC Members

Bishop Shane Mackinlay
Father Vijay Bandanadam ALCP/OSS
Father Stephen Bolling, Mrs Alana Brennan
Mr Mick Chalkley
Mrs Jobelle Collier
Mr Paul Desmond
Mrs Gabrielle Downie
Mrs Angela Finn
Mr Stephen McKinley
Mr Michael McLinden
Mr Jean-Marie Mupenda
Mr Miggy Podosky
Father Jackson Saunders
Mrs Christine Sebire
Father Joe Taylor VG.
Officers: Dr Chris Cotter, Executive Officer 
Mr Tim Nolan, Minute Secretary 
Mrs Leslie Cooper, Administrative Support 

Facilitator (for Meetings 1 and 2): Mr Dean Mason


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