In March, the Executive of the National Association of Deacons met in Perth for its annual face to face meeting. This meeting is an opportunity for the Executive to hear about local happenings and to discuss the future direction of the association. The meeting began with the new committee member, Paul Naggar introducing himself to the Executive. Peter brings to the group many years of experience in both Church and corporate life. We look forward to his valuable contributions during his term. The members of the NAD Executive are as follows:
Mark Powell (WA): Chairman
Russ Nelson (QLD): Secretary
Jim Curtain (Vic. /Tas.): Treasurer
Paul Simmons (NSW): National Coordinator of the Permanent Diaconate in Australia
Bruce Talbot (WA):
Tony Cunningham (NT/SA):
Gary Stone (NAD Secondment):
Ed Kostraby (Eastern Church):
Paul Naggar (NSW/ACT):
Each of the regional representatives had the opportunity to report on events that have taken place within their region. The major events were the ordination of 7 deacons in the Melbourne Archdiocese and an impending ordination in Hobart. Adelaide also has had some ordinations pending. In NSW, the deacons have had a social gathering and are attempting to organise others. It is important that the Executive has a general picture of events within Australia and what can be done to support what is going on. If any deacons have ideas of what can be done to support either formation or social events, please contact your regional representative, who would be more than happy to hear your ideas. Each regional representative can be found on our website www.ausdeacons.org.au.
Our website is a major means of communicating with the deacons across the country. Deacon Anthony Gooley has been the webmaster since the website's inception and has done an outstanding job in ensuring that it always remains current and topical. He has also been a major contributor, with many of his own publications giving those who visit the site an opportunity to be involved in personal formation. There have also been relevant articles from various publications around the world. After coordinating the website for over 3 years, Anthony has decided to stand down following the Deacon conference at the end of September.
The reason for his stepping down is to open up the role of webmaster to the gifts of other deacons and thereby demonstrate the the website is for and by all the deacons of Australia. The site is owned an operated by NAD. It is hoped that every few years that a new deacon will take up the task of webmaster.
Anthony will be sorely missed in this role and the Executive would like to thank him sincerely for his excellent service. The Executive is looking for a deacon to take on Anthony's role. If you believe that you have the skills necessary, or would be interested in learning new skills, please contact me via email email@example.com. I look forward to being inundated with offers of help!
Part of the Executive meeting was a detailed report on the upcoming deacon conference, 'Go and make disciples of all nations'. Deacon Mick O'Donnell and a team from the Canberra diocese are coordinating the Conference and are doing a fantastic job. Anyone is welcome to come along to the conference. This event has many facets. Firstly, it is an opportunity to engage in personal formation. The organising committee have been able to source three very knowledgeable speakers. Deacon Bill Dietwig is from Monterey in the United States. He has published many works and has worked in the role of co-ordinator of the Diaconate in the US. Father Elio Caprio from the Salesian Community lectures in Liturgy and Sacramental Theology at CTU, Melbourne. Entertaining philosopher and Jesuit priest Dr Peter L'Estrange AO, who recently returned from Georgetown University in Washington will be the after dinner speaker. Each of these people will help to give difference insights into the nature of our calling to make disciples of all nations.
The second aspect of the conference is the opportunity to connect with many deacons, aspirants, candidates and those who are interested in the diaconate. It will be an opportunity to meet old acquaintances and make new ones. It will be an opportunity to share stories and receive support. As wives are also very welcome to attend, it is an opportunity for them to support each other in what can be a difficult role. Finally, the conference is an opportunity to just relax. Although the programme is full, there will be opportunities for quiet times as well as times to enjoy the sites of Canberra. Full details can be found on our website. If you haven't already registered, I would encourage you to do so.
The final part of the meeting was an opportunity for the Executive to explore evolving role of the NAD. Again, the Executive encourage all deacons to make use of our website, especially the forums, in order to share thoughts, invite discussion on relevant topics and share interesting readings. Deacons are also encouraged to write articles for the website. The Executive are there to serve the diaconal community across Australia and we are only too happy to hear the thoughts of the deacons that we represent.
Yours in Christ Jesus
Deacon Mark Powell