The NPPN Executive serves the National Pastoral Planners Network whose purpose is to promote and strengthen a culture of planning for mission and evangelisation within the Catholic Church in Oceania. We engage pastoral research and best practices in church growth to offer experience, knowledge, resources and processes that enable dioceses and parishes to advance the mission of Jesus Christ under the guidance of the Spirit.
The National Pastoral Planning Network remembers with great affection and thanksgiving Bishop Michael Putney of the Diocese of Townsville who died in March of this year. Bishop Michael was a strong advocate for pastoral planning as an essential activity of the Church at diocesan, regional and parish levels. He supported and actively engaged in the activities of the NPPN for almost 20 years.
Soon after his appointment in July 1995 as Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese of Brisbane, Bishop Michael was given the title of ‘Vicar for Church Life and Mission’ and held the role of Chair of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Planning Committee until his appointment as the Bishop of Townsville in 2001.
One of the most significant pastoral planning projects during his time in the Archdiocese of Brisbane was Shaping Our Future – Shaping and Staffing Our Parishes, also known as SSP. During the six years of his leadership of this project Bishop Michael excelled in promoting a consultative and collaborative approach to engaging people at all levels in the planning and implementation of pastoral area plans.
Another standout initiative was the formation of a Pastoral Area Clergy Support Group to assist priests during the implementation phases when priests were expected to move into new leadership structures, including the oversight of two or more parishes. Bishop Michael often took it upon himself to provide one-to-one support to the priests who faced these new and challenging leadership positions. During these years Bishop Michael also ensured that the Archdiocese was well represented at the various conferences conducted by the NPPN and to ensure that these representatives shared their new knowledge and insights with others across the Archdiocese.
The NPPN has been enriched by the leadership of Bishop Michael and acknowledges his contribution to the growth of spirituality, ecumenism and evangelisation in lives of Catholics in many dioceses of the Australian Church. Vale Bishop Michael.
– Chris Ehler