Oceania’s diverse Church to be represented at Synod of Bishops

The president of the Federation of Catholic Bishops Conferences of Oceania says the 10 non-bishop members from the region chosen for the upcoming Synod of Bishops will help amplify the voice of the Catholic population.

Two non-bishop representatives from Aotearoa New Zealand are included -- Manuel Beazley (Vicar for Māori Auckland Diocese, in photo above, middle) and Fr Dennis Nacorda (Parish Priest, St Joseph Hāto Hōhepa Parish Levin, above, right). They will attend the October Synod with Archbishop of Wellington Paul Martin SM (left).

Earlier this year, Pope Francis invited each of the seven regions of the world to nominate 20 people who have been involved in local initiatives for the Synod of Bishops for a Synodal Church as possible additions to the Synod’s membership.

Pope Francis chose 10 members from each region from the list of nominees, seeking to create a cross-section of the Church in terms of age, sex, vocation and other demographic factors.

“There was no shortage of faithful and qualified people in Oceania who could bring their lived experience to the two sessions of the Synod of Bishops in October this year and October next year,” said Bishop Anthony Randazzo of Broken Bay, NSW,  who was elected FCBCO president in February.

“Our region is one of the most diverse in the world, when you consider the 20 or so nations in this corner of the globe. That diversity enriches the Church in Oceania and it will do so at the Synod gatherings in Rome.”

The 10 Oceania non-bishop members appointed by Pope Francis are: Mr Manuel Beazley, New Zealand; Dr Trudy Dantis, Australia; Mr John Lochowiak, Australia; Fr Dennis Nacorda, New Zealand; Mrs Kelly Paget, Australia; Sr Mary Angela Perez RSM, Pacific; Fr Sijeesh Pullenkunnel, Syro-Malabar Eparchy; Dr Susan Sela, Pacific; Ms Grace Wrakia, Papua New Guinea/Solomon Islands; Professor Renee Kohler-Ryan, Australia.

Brief biographies on each of the members can be found here.

Those members will join the following bishop members from Oceania, chosen by their episcopal conferences, who will participate in the Synod:

Australia: Bishop Shane Mackinlay; Archbishop Patrick O’Regan
New Zealand: Archbishop Paul Martin SM
Papua New Guinea/Solomon Islands: Bishop Dariusz Kaluza MSF
CEPAC (Pacific): Bishop Paul Donoghue SM

Full details about the Synod are here.