Heads of various congregations in Auckland have noted that “tremendous changes” are happening worldwide in terms of religious life. Twenty-two congregational leaders met Bishop Patrick Dunn on June 9 to discuss what is happening within their congregations and to get an update from the bishop on matters occurring within the diocese. All the congregations operate in Auckland diocese.

Auckland Vicar for Religious Sr Jane O’Carroll, SM, said the meeting was also a chance for the leaders to exchange information among themselves.

“We just look to see if there is anything we can do as a group to enhance the life and mission of the diocese,” she said.

Those include events such as general chapters and reconfiguration processes of congregations.

“Most of us are international congregations so we talk a bit about what is happening, not just in Auckland but in the world as well,” she said.

“Similar things are happening. The opening and closing of houses, for example, is a common thing around congregations because numbers are getting smaller or ageing. [We were also]
looking at places where the new life is,” she added.

Sr Jane noted that new life is coming from places like the Philippines, Africa and India.

“Religious life is increasing in non-European countries in our Church now. We are really in the midst of tremendous change really. And it can be a very creative time. It can be stressful times,” she said with a laugh.

She said the shift in where religious life is growing is one of the reasons for the changes in leaders in congregations.

“It’s sort of like looking at what the trends are. There are certain trends we can see,” she said. “We just need to be open to the new direction, whatever it is going to be.”

Sr Jane said the group decided to hold a Thanksgiving Mass for religious life next year to celebrate the different charisms.

Bishop Dunn updated the congregational leaders on the diocesan plan Fit for Mission, the St Patrick’s Cathedral presbytery restoration as well as the St John Vianney House extension.

“It was a good meeting. It’s always good to catch up with people and take care of each other in that sense,” Sr Jane said.

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