The beginning of a new year always brings with it a degree of optimism. In my role as Principal of a Catholic primary school, this is never more evident than on the first day back after the Christmas holidays. Even for the most sceptical student, there is a sense of positivity that the new school year will be better than last year. My prayer for all of you is that 2015 will bring you many rewards along with the inevitable challenges that our ministry presents us with.
At the Executive meeting of the NAD that was held in August, we met the new National Coordinator of the Permanent Diaconate, Tony Aspinall. Tony replaces Paul Simmons whose term had come to end. Paul was a fine ambassador for the diaconate across the country and did great work connecting deacons. He also did a great job promoting the diaconate and many programmes that were introduced during his tenure were because of the hard work that he did. We thank him for his efforts and wish him well in whatever the future holds for him. Tony is currently working his way around Australia, visiting dioceses and talking to bishops and diaconate coordinators. If you are aware that he is visiting your region, please try to spend some time with him.
Our website continues to be a vital source of communication and information dissemination for our diaconal community. I thank Bruce Talbot from the Archdiocese of Perth for the work that he does to keep the website current and fresh. It is interesting to note that last year (2014) the website had over 8 000 visitors of which 80% came from Australia. Of the remaining 20%, the majority of visits came from the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Our website is doing a great job of reaching out to the diaconal community and I encourage you all to visit it regularly.
I have great pleasure in announcing the new members of the NAD Executive. Mark Kelly has been elected as the new representative for the Victoria and Tasmania region. He replaces Jim Curtain whose term has been completed. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Jim for the work that he has done on the Executive, particularly in his role as Treasurer. Jim will remain on the Executive as a seconded member until the Melbourne conference. I would also like to congratulate Paul Naggar, who was elected for a second term as the NSW/ACT regional representative.
Finally, I would like to remind you all of the Deacon Conference that will take place in Melbourne from the 8th-11th October 2015. The venue for this event will be the Treacy Centre. The theme is 'The Deacon as the Minister of Social Justice'. Father Frank Brennan SJ will be the key note speaker. All deacons across the country are invited to attend and we look forward to registrations being calledfor very soon. I would like to thank the deacons from the Archdiocese of Melbourne for all the work they are doing to organise the conference.