Sr Nathalie Becquart XMCJ, Undersecretary of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops will be visiting Melbourne in late January, and on Tuesday 31 January will appear at the Catholic Leadership Centre in East Melbourne for a conversation on ‘journeying together’ as the Church, both universally and locally. The next day, on 1 February, Melbourne will also be visited by Fr Hans Zollner, Director of the Institute of Anthropology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
Sr Nathalie is a member of the Congregation of Xavières and a former National Director of the National Service for the Evangelisation of Young People and Vocations in France—the first woman to hold this position. She was appointed by Pope Francis in 2019 as Consultor to the Synod of Bishops, and to her current role in 2021. She is the first woman to hold this position at the Vatican, and the first woman to have voting rights on the Synod.
No stranger to the synodal process, she also made significant contributions to the Synod on Young People in 2018 and the Synod on the Pan-Amazon Region in 2019. This year she was named by the BBC as one of ‘100 inspiring and influential women around the world’ and by the New York Times as one of ‘10 women leaving their mark on the world’.
Reflecting on process of synodality, she has observed that in recent years we have been rediscovering that 'the Church is people walking together: everyone has a role. Nobody should be set aside. We are together, the Church, the people of God, all of us—bishops, men, women, lay people, religious, married, single, children—baptised. So we all have to be protagonists of the mission of the Church.'
Sr Nathalie's event at the Catholic Leadership Centre will be of particular interest to those in parish leadership who are involved in the Take the Way of the Gospel process. She will also be speaking at a number of other events in Melbourne, Parramatta, Sydney and Adelaide.
Fr Zollner, a licensed psychotherapist, is one of the Church’s leading experts in the field of safeguarding from sexual abuse and has visited more than 70 countries to address conferences and workshops on this important topic. In addition to his role at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Fr Zollner has been a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors since it was created in 2014. During his visit to Melbourne, Fr Zollner will address clergy and parish leaders on safeguarding issues, with details of this event still to be announced.