Religious Congregations are groups of men or women who have chosen to express their Christian commitment by living in community and taking lifelong vows—usually vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.
These women and men commit their lives to serving God and the Church through prayer and sacrifice, living and working alongside the Church, seeking to love and serve everyone they encounter.
They are governed according to their constitutions, which are usually approved by the pope, or in some cases, the local bishop. They cannot work in a diocese without the consent of a bishop and they can often own property and institutions.
There are currently 27 religious congregations living in the diocese offering a range of pastoral, social welfare, educational, aged care and health services for people in our community.
Our diocesan logo is theologically rich and very succinct. As a hand, it depicts our mission as a diocese and as individuals within the diocese, of bearing (bringing, carrying) Christ’s love to one another and to the world around us. In this, we are the hand of Jesus Christ, and we are offering ourselves to him so that he might work through us.
We can be the bearers of his love only as a response to his call and in the strength of his grace. We are reminded of this in two ways—through the symbol of the dove (the Holy Spirit) also present in the logo, and by the incorporation of the cross that segments the logo. The presence of the cross is a reminder that bearing the love of Christ will inevitably cost us if we live it authentically. However, in the way that the Cross is the portent of redemption and life—an echo of the tree of life in the book of Genesis—so becoming bearers of the love of Christ will also bring us to life.
The four fingers of the hand also represent the four regions of our diocese. The first is bluerepresenting the beautiful water of the Shoalhaven. The second is a blue and green combination representing the waters and escarpment of the Illawarra. The third is greendepicting the hills and plains of the Macarthur. The fourth is dark green illustrating the forests of the Southern Highlands.