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Senior Pastoral Associate - St Mary’s Parish, Greensborough, VIC

Background Information

The Parish of St. Mary’s, Greensborough was established in 1955. Since its establishment in that year with Fr. Thomas Ashe as the founding parish priest, there have been only two others since that time as parish priests, though there have been numerous assistant priests throughout its history. The current incumbent was appointed to the parish at the beginning of 2003.

Though until the early 80’s it was a very large parish until the establishment of St. Thomas’, North Greensborough, it still has approximately 2,600 Catholic families comprised of about 5,400 individuals. The parish also has a long history of active involvement and participation of parishioners in many groups, committees and organisations and as such is quite a vibrant community of faith. It is presently in a time of transition as its population ages, but new, young families are also moving into the area, conveniently located at the end of the Western Ring Road. The school has just over 500 enrolled students.

The parish has had a long history of employing a Pastoral Associate from the early 1990s. Between 2003 and 2016 it became a one priest parish and with the appointment of the current Pastoral Associate in 2005, there developed a strong collaborative leadership exercised by the two to form and support parishioners to exercise leadership in ministry. 
St. Mary’s has for many years had an active Parish Pastoral Council which operates as a leadership team with the Parish Priest and Pastoral Associate.

Currently St. Mary’s Parish is one of three parishes in a relationship of partnership with Sacred Heart, Diamond Creek and St. Thomas the Apostle, Greensborough North. This partnership has been developing since 2017 to strengthen the bonds between the three. The Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan – “Take the Way of the Gospel” – proposes that in time these three parishes be further united with Our Lady Help of Christians, Eltham and St. Francis of Assisi, Montmorency. So although the role of the Pastoral Associate is primarily to be dedicated to St. Mary’s Parish, some of the pastoral and formation roles will be exercised over now three, and later possibly five communities.

Pastoral Associate

The role of the Pastoral Associate is essentially to work in collaborative leadership with the Parish Priest(s) for the welfare and pastoral care of St. Mary’s Parish. 
The parish is seeking to again employ an experienced and accredited Senior Pastoral Associate, or one who is prepared to grow into the role, to assist with the continuing needs of the parish from the beginning of October 2022. The position would be part-time (30 hours per week) and include some evening and weekend work when required. The focus of the position would be to animate, support and empower existing groups in the parish which are generally self-coordinating and possibly to help form and empower other groups to meet new needs of pastoral care. The fundamental assumption here is that the parishioners are a wonderful resource rather than a group in need. It is hoped therefore that the Pastoral Associate will assist the parish to continue developing as a parish that is gift-orientated rather than merely needs orientated, utilizing the gifts and charisms of our people. The Pastoral Associate would be expected to be grounded in the vision of Vatican II and have a capacity to lead parishioners to express their faith in action for the mission of the Church in the wider world. This would entail building relationships of trust and to be a strong team player who would enable parishioners rather than merely coordinate them and with an ability to deal with many aspects of parish life including a close liaison with its primary school. It would be expected that the Pastoral Associate is able to use their own initiative to forge their own particular ways of exercising this role. Remuneration will be in accordance with Archdiocesan policy and commensurate with the duties and responsibilities.

Duties and Responsibilities

• To work collaboratively and meet regularly with the parish priest(s) in providing pastoral care in the parish community.
• To be present to the parish community, to participate in the liturgical life of the parish, occasionally at the Sunday Eucharist or at special liturgical celebrations when appropriate.
• To call forth the gifts and charisms of parishioners and encourage their participation in parish life.
• To participate in parish leadership meetings, in parish planning and in consultation in appropriate areas of decision-making.
• To assist people who present themselves at the parish office with material, emotional or spiritual needs.

• Participate in the monthly Parish Leadership Team meetings with Parish Priest and Chairperson of the St Mary’s Parish Pastoral Council. 
• Participate in Parish Pastoral Council, as an ex-officio member. 
• Assist the Parish Priest in forming and supporting an “Umbrella PPC” across the 3 parishes.
• Take up leadership of the team within the Parish office, as needed, supporting, and guiding parish staff.

• Provide pastoral, liturgical, theological, leadership and spiritual formation for parish groups, as needed, with the Parish Priest.
• Participate in Faith Development Team meetings and when needed offer formation for parents. (The FDT consists of the Parish priests, Pastoral Associates, Principals, Religious Education Leaders, Catechists and Parents of the three parishes and oversees the sacramental celebrations of the children and the adult formation of the parents of the three partnered parish communities).
• Assist with formation across the partnership – including inviting them to liturgical and formation sessions that would be run for the Partnered Parishes.
• To advertise to parishioners, opportunities for retreats and further spiritual development.

Worship and Spirituality:
• To liaise with the liturgy group (when appropriate) in planning for the liturgical seasons of the year without necessarily attending their meetings. 
• To occasionally assist with liturgical functions, lead prayer services and provide other devotional opportunities as required.
• Support the ongoing work of the Children’s Liturgy of the Word Team, including promoting these Sunday opportunities for children at 10.00 Masses.

Engaging with School Families:
• Make opportunities to meet with new prep families. 
• Oversee and meet with the Parish group - Prep Parent Connections Night Team to plan and then participate in the Prep Parent Connections Night.
• Liaise with year 5 and 6 teachers, the REL and Principal, inviting on behalf of the parish, their parents and their friends and families, to the bi-annual Anointing Mass at which their child’s class will be present.
• Find ways to involve school families in the life of the worship community, e.g. encouraging parents to assist with catering after funerals.

Animating and enabling parishioners:
• Listen to the movement of the Spirit in parishioners’ lives.
• Discern with the Parish Priest, initiatives which might assist parishioners to develop responses to parish needs and the needs of world, in line with Christ’s vision, especially in the local community.
• Provide support as needed for Parish groups.

Pastoral Care:
• Be available for those who need support, including those who are chronically ill in the parish, being alert to their pastoral and spiritual needs, and those of their families. 
• To be available to offer pastoral support to staff and families of the school where required.
• To liaise and network with the St. Vincent de Paul Conference of the parish when there is a request to reach out to those in need.

Support the Partnership of Parishes:
• Support the work of the Partnered Parishes Plenary Facilitators’ Group, which looks to develop initiatives in response to the submissions of our parishioners to the Plenary Council. This is about assisting and nurturing a sense of agency for each parish; that we don’t need to wait on the bishops as well as being responsive to what our parishioners have expressed as pastoral needs. 
• Explore opportunities to implement decisions from the Plenary Council at a local level.
• Support and provide your perspective to the Mission (Take the Way of the Gospel) group of the partnered parishes.

Administration and Compliance:
• Support the chair of Safeguarding Committee
• Ensure the COVID Safe Plan is up to date and disseminated.
• Consult with Liturgy, Baptism and Funeral Teams as necessary.

• Link in with Association of Pastoral Ministry Leaders.
• Network with Pastoral Associates locally, including within the partnership
• Either work towards accreditation or re-accreditation, by keeping up your own ongoing formation, including supervision.
• Regular spiritual direction.

Other duties:
Other duties as required by or negotiated with the Parish Priest

Essential criteria:
• A capacity to exercise initiative in consultation with the Parish Priest
• Accredited or working towards accreditation as a Pastoral Associate
• To be grounded in a Vatican II ecclesiology
• Having good interpersonal skills and being able to foster relationships between parishioners
• Having an openness and a capacity to exercise ministry collaboratively with the PP, PPC, administration staff and parishioners in general
• Having a willingness to learn and be reflective
• To enable, empower and form parishioners to put their faith into action, rather than only coordinate activities
• To be one who clearly has relationship with Christ and is a person of prayer and obvious spirituality

Applications are to be sent to [email protected] by 2nd September 2022. Please submit a cover letter addressing the essential criteria along with a current resume and references, one of which should be from a parish priest. Interviews will be held in the week of September 12th. For further information contact Suzette Diaz, HR Partner on 03 9962 2424.

Application Closing Date: 2nd September 2022.

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