Professor Richard Lennan: Continuing the Pilgrimage of Hope

Significant milestones give us time to pose questions, and the 150th celebration of the arrival of the first bishop of Maitland-Newcastle is a fitting time to ask:

  • What does it mean to be Catholic here and now?
  • Things are changing around us. Of what do we need to let go? What do we need to take on?
  • Where is Pope Francis pointing us?

This searching reflects a church on the move – on pilgrimage, so to speak. We share the same responsibility as our founding bishop to pose the questions and formulate a direction that will best shape our faith and its challenges today.

One of our own diocesan members whose life and ministry are now engaged in pondering that very reality is priest and theologian Richard Lennan, who will be with us for a week (31 July - 6 August) to guide our exploration.  Richard grew up in Newcastle and has been a priest of the diocese since 1983. Since 2007 he has been teaching in the US, and is now on the Faculty of the well-known Boston Theological College. His study focuses on ‘ecclesiology’ – the life of the Church.

Richard sees the 150th anniversary as the ideal time to ask the right questions and search together for answers, in the light of a considered contemporary understanding of what it means for us to be Church.  With workshops scheduled in Aberdeen, Hamilton, Taree and Lochinvar, people from all regions will be able to engage with him in forums for learning and discussion. Another great opportunity will be his delivery of the inaugural Cathedral Lecture on Wednesday evening, 3 August.    

How appropriate that we honour our founding heritage today by exploring, together with Richard, the call to be people of Good News and hope in our time!

View Fr Richard's schedule below, or download a PDF with further information.





Sunday : July 31

1.00 – 4.00 pm

St. Joseph's High School Aberdeen

School Library

Seminar: Presentation; group conversation to reflect on the input within the local context; Q&A; final input and blessing.


Monday: August 1

9.00 – 12.00 pm

Raymond Terrace: St Brigid's Primary School Hall

Cnr of William and Adelaide St

Seminar as outlined above


4.30 – 7.30 pm

Diocesan Offices – Toohey Room

841 Hunter St, Newcastle West

Seminar as outlined above

Wednesday: August 3

Gathering from 5.30 pm

6.00  – 7.30 pm

Sacred Heart Cathedral,

841 Hunter Street, Newcastle West

Inaugural Cathedral Lecture.

Tradition: Engaging God’s future, our past and challenges of the present.

Lecture; conversation among participants; Q&A.

The conversation will continue with wine and cheese in the Diocesan offices.  All welcome

Thursday: August 4

1.00 – 4.00 pm

St Clare's High School, Davis St Taree

Seminar as outlined above

Friday: August 5

2.30 – 5.00 pm

Diocesan Offices – Toohey Room

841 Hunter St, Newcastle West

In conversation with Leaders: diocesan, agency, parish, religious orders and apostolic groups. 

Saturday: August 6

9.30 – 12.30 pm

Tenison Woods Education Centre,

St. Joseph’s Convent,

New England Hwy, Lochinvar

Seminar as outlined above


Please register for all events by Friday July 22 with Sharon Murphy E: P: 4979 1134

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Vivien Williams Image
Vivien Williams

Vivien Williams is an Adult Faith Formation Officer for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.