As I write this report on behalf of the National Association of Deacons, final preparations are being put into place for our Conference which will be held from the 19th- 22nd September in Canberra. The organising committee led by Deacon Mick O'Donnell have been able to attract a group of quality speakers who will challenge those who are able to attend. Currently, the speaker list includes the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Dr Brendan Nelson who is the Director of the Australian War Memorial, Rev Deacon Bill Ditewig, Rev Dr Elio Capra and Jesuit Priest Dr Peter L'Estrange. A good number of deacons have already registered their attendance and it will be a great opportunity to catch up with old friends, make new friends and have the opportunity to participate in some quality faith formation. We look forward to welcoming as many deacons as we can to this event. You can register now.
A full report regarding the conference will be made following its conclusion.
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to meet with Fr Brian Maloney, Director-Office for Clergy, Life and Ministry. At this meeting, he made an undertaking that the Executive of the National Association of Deacons would be consulted on the appointment of the new National Coordinator of the Permanent Diaconate in Australia and that members of the Executive would have the opportunity to meet with the members of the Australian Catholic Bishop's Conference. This is a huge step forward in our development as an association. Now, more than ever, it is important that issues that are concerning deacons being passed onto their regional representatives in order for them to be properly discussed and then passed onto the ACBC. I would like to thank Father Brian for his willingness to listen to our concerns and giving us the opportunity to have a voice and a presence with the ACBC. I look forward to reporting the outcome of these meetings in future reports.
I also look forward to the announcement of the new Coordinator of the Permanent Diaconate. Deacon Paul Simmons has been in this role and has decided not to renominate for the position. I would like to thank Paul for his hard work and dedication in promoting the diaconate across the country and for connecting with so many deacons across this land of ours. He has also been an invaluable member of the Executive and his knowledge and wisdom has been a used on many occasions for the good of the diaconal community. He will now be able to focus on his new Parish ministry and we wish him many blessings in this role.
In June, the Executive sent out a request that all deacons fill in a 'Deacon Profile' in order to gain an accurate picture of the diaconate across Australia. This has not been done for many years so the data that will be collected will help with the planning of future conferences as well as information to pass onto the ACBC at our yearly meetings. Thank you to all of those who have filled out these profiles. For those who haven't filled one in as yet, I urge you to do so.