15 Jul 2022
Hearing the voices of many
The Southern Cross | July 2022
In our continuing series on the Interim Diocesan Pastoral Council, Holly Roberts and Fr Manu Kumbidiyamackal explain why they nominated to be on the Council and share their hopes for the future.
Holly Roberts, 25, Learning Enrichment tutor, Sacred Heart College, Middle School
I have been involved in the local Church for many years. It began with my schooling: I attended Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish School, Antonio School and Cardijn College, where I was Mission Captain. Through school, I became involved with Arch D Radio which introduced me to Youth Ministry in the Archdiocese. I spent four years working for Catholic Office for Youth and Young Adults (COYYA) during which I was a host for the Australian Catholic Youth Festival, represented young Australians at the International Youth Forum in Rome and was part of the Archdiocesan Caritas Committee, Laudato Si’ Generation Working Group and Council for Integral Ecology.
I was drawn to the DPC because I believe strongly in including young people in decision making spaces and that young people are empowered when they see themselves represented. I wish to contribute to creating an Archdiocesan community that listens to and is compassionate about the realities of young people. Pope Francis calls us to be ‘Protagonists of Change’ and I hope to contribute to this locally.
I hope to help create a strong understanding of what the vision and mission of the DPC is and how it can contribute to making our Archdiocese a place of welcome and affirmation. Our Church can only benefit from the full participation and gifts of those who wish to be a part of it.
I see the DPC as a council that accompanies, listens to and acts on the needs of the community. I would like to see a flourishing and vibrant Archdiocese well into the future and the DPC is just one way that we can work towards that.
Undoubtedly, one of the challenges is ensuring that the diversity of our Archdiocese is consistently at the forefront of our work. We are limited to our own realities, but I believe that through prayer and consultation we can achieve positive results for all. This is also an opportunity to get to know the hearts and minds of more people than perhaps has been possible in the past.
I look forward to continuing my work with the DPC and being a part of this historic moment for our Archdiocese.
Fr Manu Kumbidiyamackal, 48, Para Hills/Modbury parish
I was ordained as a Missionaries of St Francis de Sales priest in 2001.
Before coming to Australia I worked as a parish priest in India, as a formator in the seminary and as teacher at SFS College, Bangalore University. I have been in the Adelaide Archdiocese since 2013 and served as an assistant parish priest at Para Hills/Modbury parish for one year before being appointed parish priest in July 2014. I also extend my services to St Francis Xavier’s Catholic School and Gleeson College and offer spiritual assistance at Modbury Hospital and nine nursing homes in the vicinity of the parish.
I nominated to be on the DPC because I want to contribute to the pastoral planning in the Archdiocese and I also thought it would help me fulfil my responsibilities in a better way as I can learn many things from the other members.
Personally, I hope to learn more about the challenges and opportunities in the pastoral ministry that I exercise within the Archdiocese. I hope to understand and bring to practice what is required of me as a parish priest in the present situations within the life and ministry of the Church in Adelaide. Collectively, the DPC can discuss and deliberate on matters that are important to the Archdiocese and present its recommendations to the Archbishop and his leadership team for consideration.
The DPC can make valuable contributions through constructive suggestions, after conducting in-depth studies of real life situations in the parishes, for planning the life and mission of the Archdiocese. The DPC can be of great importance in assisting with organising various activities that will happen in the diocese.
One of the major challenges will be to come up with a plan and program acceptable to all. (The Church in Adelaide consists of such a multicultural background, and the majority of the church-going population are older.)
Another challenge will the difficulty we face reaching out to those who do not frequent church and gathering their expectations and hopes of the Church in Adelaide.
Reaching out to the younger generations and understanding their thoughts and hopes will also be a great challenge against the background of the many accusations and abuse cases faced by the Church, and coming up with a plan to heal those past wounds.
The diversity within the Church due to multiculturalism is a great opportunity for parishes to learn from each other.
The Diocesan Assembly and Plenary Council will offer many opportunities for planning and progress. The system of Catholic education which already exists in the diocese offers another great pastoral opportunity.