5 things the bishop wants to do for the community
AFTER 18 months in the role, the Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lismore, father Gregory Homeming, has a plan for the next 15 years of his life, and it involves tackling five issues that are important to him.
"I've got 15 years to make a difference for these people," he said, referring to the 15 years he has until he retires from pastoral life.
"My main goals are quite simple," he said, but that does not mean the task ahead is.
1. Care for priests
Bishop Homeming said his first goal is to look after the local priests.
"If I don't look after them, who is going to look after my people? And they are hard-working men that need care and support."
2. Offering social housing for disadvantaged kids and their families
Another big goal for the Bishop is to help disadvantaged children attending local Catholic schools.
Bishop Homeming said he asked the principal of a Northern Rivers Catholic primary school about some of the children at their kindergarten.
"I was shocked at the Kindergaten because I knew there was something wrong, I knew there was something wrong with some of the kids" he said.
"I don't see the point of having Catholic schools if I don't begin to find a way to help these kids.
"I've been talking to the school principals and priests, but if I can begin in one place and, let's say, change the lives of four kids and get it right, that's a good start.
"What I want is to eventually give them a stable place to live, without establishing a ghetto.
"I'm trying to work out how, as a church, to build a set of units and create a Catholic-like community in there, so there is a supportive community for single-parent families and I would know how to invite them because their children would be in my schools."
3. Support victims of sexual abuse
Bishop Homeming is clear that as a Catholic leader he must speak up and also do something about the issue.
"I'm concerned by the 85 per cent of people that are abused at home and have nowhere else to go," he said.
"I'm already in conversations with Heartfelt House and will give support to them in the hope that when we have low-cost places eventually, we can offer safe wholesome places to some of them.
"I have not done anything, but I'm remorseful on behalf of the church and I start thinking about those that nobody is helping, what kind of care can I offer them as a bishop?"
"I'm already talking to refugee groups about what we might do," he said.
5. Supporting young adult Catholics
"I need to focus on post-school people with an interest in the church, I would like to help them to be better Catholics, because that's the future of my diocese."