By Joshua Low
The Catholic Archdiocese of Perth has released a new initiative called The Way Forward to address issues and questions within the local Catholic community and beyond.The consultation process is the first stage of the program and runs until the 16th of October. Given the decline in numbers of the faithful, along with the struggles the Church has experienced, the initiative has come at a good time. It involves reaching out to all members of the Catholic Church in Perth for their opinions on topics like communication, professional standards, faith formation and outreach to the needy. Anita Parker, Director of the Catholic Youth Ministry Perth, believes The Way Forward is a great opportunity for young people especially to be heard. “[The communication] is seen sometimes as a one-way street … Now they are providing a platform in a very unique way to hear from the ground up what the people actually want. “It’s a really exciting time for the Church, and an exciting time to engage our young people and their voices in how they see [it] moving forward,” she said. While not being a churchgoer herself, 22-year-old Emily Logan of Applecross believes the initiative is a step in the right direction. “I think it’s great that they’re searching for more effective ways to communicate and are open to listening to the voices of all those in the Catholic community,” she said. Archbishop of Perth Timothy Costelloe says the Archdiocese has to creatively make full use of all the possibilities new technologies offer to spread the message. “We must plan for the future, seeking creative and faithful ways to meet the growing demands as our city and suburbs change and develop. “We must take the extraordinary richness of our faith to the people rather than simply wait for them to come to us,” he said.