A mission renewal process in the Melbourne Archdiocese has reinforced a shift in city populations, with the once-dominant inner-city parishes being overtaken by outer suburban churches in the city’s growth areas. Source: The Weekend Australian.
The archdiocese is undertaking a major internal review of how it sells the Gospel in a changing society, with moves to set up a series of missions that will attempt to serve more than one million mainly Melbourne Catholics.
Melbourne Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli is overseeing a process of renewal that includes a reordering of resources and an expectation of considerable changes to the way the Church functions in the future.
He said a key aspect of the mission renewal was making sure that resources were allocated to growth areas without forgetting inner areas; six of the top-10 parishes with the smallest Catholic population are now in the inner city.
“I’m saying let’s go to where the people are,” Archbishop Comensoli said. “Where do you go to plant the seeds? Go plant them where the people are.”
Census data shows that five of the top-10 parishes are in Melbourne’s north and the other five in the west, which coincide with some of Australia’s highest population growth, fuelled by cheaper housing and immigration.
The mission renewal process is being greeted with concern by clergy, many of whom are ageing and facing uncertainty over their futures and how they will spend their final years as priests.
Old elites make way as Church moves on (By John Ferguson, The Weekend Australian)