Australian Bishops Hope the Lapsed “Reconnect”

Prelates Aim to Bring Back Fallen-Away Catholics

SYDNEY, Australia, MAY 8, 2008 ( The Australian episcopal conference is hoping to bring fallen-away Catholics back to the Church.

A pastoral plan to reach out to Catholics who no longer practice their faith, and to those Catholics who never felt identified with the Church, is one of the fruits of the bishops’ assembly, which concluded today in Sydney.

The strategy will include a pastoral letter to parishes, urging them to become places of welcome. A six-week program titled “Reconnect” is also part of the strategy.

And there is a similar program aimed at young people who may seek to connect with parish life in the wake of World Youth Day, scheduled for this July in Sydney.

A national advertising campaign inviting Catholics to reconnect with the Church community is another part of the pastoral plan.

The prelates also re-elected Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide as the group’s president. Archbishop Wilson was first elected to the two-year presidency in May 2006.

Archbishop Barry Hickey of Perth was re-elected vice president.