An extra pair of pastoral hands, feet and ears

NEWS 7 February 2011 At long last we have a new member in the Archdiocesan Pastoral Support Unit, Sue Ryan. For many years, especially in light of the synods, the…


7 February 2011

At long last we have a new member in the Archdiocesan Pastoral Support Unit, Sue Ryan.

For many years, especially in light of the synods, the archdiocese has provided ongoing training and support in parishes for sacraments, adult faith formation, spirituality and children’s liturgy. Much of this work has been done by staff in the Wellington Catholic Education Centre. In light of the ongoing structure of the centre as the Catholic Institute of Aotearoa New Zealand, Te Putake Katorika ki Aotearoa, the parish training and support focus has been taken up by Archdiocesan Pastoral Services.

An extra pair of pastoral hands, feet and ears Archdiocese of WellingtonSue Ryan has joined the other three members of the pastoral areas support unit as well being appointed the adult faith formation coordinator.

Sue comes from the Palmerston North Diocese where she was working last year.

Sue has extensive background in all sectors of the education system – primary, secondary and tertiary, as well as a variety of experiences of church both here in New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. From 2005 to 2009 she was working in Papua New Guinea with the Department of Education in East New Britain, helping the 12 Provincial Secondary schools in that area to implement the new National Curriculum.

Returning to New Zealand Sue enrolled for a Diploma in Pastoral Studies, to update her knowledge of what was happening in the church in Aotearoa, particularly in terms of culture. She found that the courses offered by the Catholic Institute of Aotearoa (formerly the Wellington Catholic Education Centre) were exceptionally good. Papers like, ‘Introduction to Theology’, were stimulating and inspiring. For Sue, an active Catholic, ‘Introduction to the New Testament’, revealed a Christ that is not always apparent in the Sunday homily, or one’s own private bible reading. Introduction to Youth Ministry helped explain why today’s Catholic youth are so different from older generations of Catholics and ‘Understanding Church’ provided understanding of the processes that are bringing about change in the church.

In 2009 Sue spent six months at the Marymount Spirituality Centre in Sydney run by the Sisters of Mercy on an intense spiritual journey doing formator training and living as a full member of a community.

In her new position Sue will work with pastoral area councils, priests and parish councils in the South Island. She will also be available to work with anyone who is involved with sacramental programmes and children’s liturgy.

Sue is also available to advise (face to face or online) on the resources and opportunities available for Catholics who wish to find out more about the changing church.

Other interests Sue hopes to share with parishes include the Catholic e-Conferences that are telecast twice a year from the Broken Bay Institute in Sydney. These started two years ago in the year of Paul.
The first, ‘Paul − The Man, His Mission and His Message’, was so transforming that Sue was hooked. This was followed by ‘St Luke’ and, in 2010, by ‘Mary the First Disciple’ and ‘Jesus the Christ’.

Anyone interested in viewing or setting up an e-conference for their parish is welcome to contact Sue. The first e-conference for this year is ‘The Holy Spirit’ on Thursday May 19 and the second will be ‘Following Jesus – Matthew’ and will be telecast on Tuesday September 6.

To talk to Sue or invite her to visit your parish or group − 04 4961748 or

Image: Sue Ryan, right, with other archdiocesan pastoral advisers Lorraine McArthur, Mary-Ann Greaney and Sue Devereux.