Becoming New in Christ


Parish Mission Renewal 2022

Following Bishop Tim’s adoption of six parish Common Directions after the 2021 Diocesan Assembly he has released a Diocesan Support Plan for 2022 to assist parishes to implement the Common Directions.

Common Directions and proposed strategies for parishes and diocesan support.

2022 Diocesan Support Plan

Text of Bishop Tim's message to Parish Pastoral and Finance Councils.



Parish Mission Renewal 2021

2021 was a year of consultation, in parishes first and at diocesan level after that. Bishop Tim Harris is not asking parishes to jump into action straight away except for the action of reflecting on and discussing aspects of renewal in Christ that are key to a parish’s mission today. Using the wisdom emerging from our parishes and elsewhere Bishop Tim will put together a diocesan framework for revitalising the mission of our parishes. That will lead to action in 2022.

The parish consultation will include three themes - BELONG, BELIEVE and BECOME.

Why are we using Belong, Believe, Become to explore becoming new in Christ?

Here are the reasons:

  • Each word captures an important part of the mission of a Catholic parish. See the boxes below.
  • The words are positive and easily understood immediately - they are not Church jargon; yet, they have great depth. They will lead on to other important key words and concepts along the journey.
  • It’s not only about the individual words but the sequence in which they are applied; the sequence Belong Believe Become is necessary for the mission of a Catholic parish today, but that is not what we tend to do. We all too easily do the opposite - Become Believe Belong – that is, we give people the message: ‘you become like us (fit in straight away) and we’ll show you what to believe, and then we might let you belong.’ This was not Jesus’ way, not what Pope Francis is calling for, and thwarts a major purpose (mission) for which the parish exists: reaching people who do not know Jesus.

If our parishes are to be renewed and revitalised it will not be brought about simply by a program, or a rationalising of resources (even though some of that will have to happen), or a plan (that will definitely need to happen). We have to renew and refocus our parish cultures (our routine ways of thinking, being and acting) to better serve Jesus’ mission, reaching outwards and growing deeper - Belong Believe Become in that order. Over time, this will take reflection, prayer, soul searching, conversation with each other, leadership, commitment and a whole-of-parish approach. This is both exciting and challenging.

Last year Pope Francis extended by a year to October 2023 the preparation time for the XVI Ordinary Synod of Bishops in Rome. 

This was so that people in local dioceses around the world could be consulted. 

As part of this journey, a synthesis of messages has been prepared from consultations at more recent synodal gatherings in our Diocese  Bishop Tim has asked that our Diocesan Synthesis report be released to all. It is available here - 

The synthesis report is just ten pages. 
The content has been assembled using responses submitted through the national synod portal as well as other key synodal processes in the Diocese - consultation for the Plenary Council, the Bishop's Youth Ambassadors Forums and subsequent Youth Commission consultations, and our Diocesan Parish renewal journey commencing in 2021. Dioceses were asked to summarise main points on a page at the front and to add Appendices to indicate the nature of the synodal encounters and any outcomes - there are five Appendices attached to our document.

Catholic Dioceses across Australia have prepared synthesis reports as their own local contribution to the global Synod. Those reports  can be viewed at  The reports will shape the development of a national synthesis to be sent to the Holy See, and also discussed with the Bishops of Oceania.


Diocesan Prayer

God of all being, Giver of life, Trinity of love,
through the waters of Baptism
you gifted us as members of your Body, the Church.

You called us to carry the light of Christ

and spread his word across all creation.

Inspire us again in our passion for mission

so we show the welcoming arms of Jesus

to one another, to the stranger

and to any who feel lost and abandoned.

Bless us across our diocese, and all its peoples,

so we live with energy and joy 

on our journey to becoming new in Christ.

Mary, Help of Christians, pray for us.
St Joseph, pray for us.

Saint (… of local parish and school) pray for us.


Journey with Us Jesus

Journey with us, Jesus, as we move into our future;
open up our hearts to hear your Word;
Surround us with your Spirit and your presence deep within:
Becoming new, becoming new in You. 

May we welcome one another with respect and warmth and love.
May we see Your face in each and every one.
May we change our way of being without stubbornness of heart,
so we are the message ‘all belong’ -

May your mother, Mary, Help of Christians guide our vision,
with the witness of the saints who’ve gone before,
so all our work gives glory to the Trinity of love,
the source of joy and energy and life.

Diocesan Assembly

Recently, priests, parishioners, school principals and other diocesan personnel gathered with me on 10th and 11th September at Holy Spirit School Hall, Cranbrook for our Diocesan Assembly focused on mission renewal in parishes within our Becoming New in Christ journey. 

What we have here is a work in progress. As was said at the Assembly, precise details are not worked out, but the big directions are clear to me and many practical ideas about how to move in those directions have been proposed.

Here are the documents that were presented prior and at the Diocesan Assembly and the outcomes from the gathering.

Preparation Paper 1:

A collated summary of those reports became Preparation Paper 1 sent to Diocesan Assembly Members on 12 August.

Preparation Paper 2:

This was then sent to Diocesan Assembly Members on 20 August and they were invited to propose Draft Recommendations for the whole Assembly to consider.

An Initial Draft Recommendations Paper: 

This was then prepared on the basis of the above and Assembly Members discussed this when they gathered on 10th and 11th September, proposing changes and improvements, and expressing support levels and priorities.

Bishop Tim: What was Heard at the Diocesan Assembly:

The full version of this snapshot you are now reading was sent to Assembly Members on 22nd September.

Bishop Tim: Diocesan Assembly Response Part 1 - All Saints Day:

This is a response from Bishop Tim indicating his main action responses following the Diocesan Assembly. This was sent to assembly members on All Saints Day.

Strategic Mission Focus Areas

In response to Diocesan Assembly Recommendations the Bishop commits to Six Common Directions for our Becoming New in Christ parishes journey.

Bishop Tim: Diocesan Assembly Response Part 2 - December 1

Following my first letter to you on All Saints Day, we have completed the 2022 Diocesan Budget process. I can now outline Diocesan Support resourcing of parish Common Directions for Becoming New in Christ in 2022.

Become Resources

Believe Resources

Belong Resources

Liturgy and Prayer Resources