Congress 2023+ updates

22 August 2023

National President Communique

Congress 2023+ - Listening forums 

Dear Vincentian Brothers and Sisters,

National Council is busy preparing for a membership Congress which is to be held from October 27 – 29 in
Sydney, at Olympic Park. The Congress is centred around thinking creatively together in order to revitalise the
Society and its good works.

As part of the Congress 2023+ design, National Council recognises the importance of ensuring that all members are provided an opportunity to engage in these conversations, and to share their own innovative ideas and hopes for the Society now and into the future.

To this end, I warmly invite Society members to participate in a Listening Forum, which forms a vital element of the Congress 2023+ program of activities.

The expression of ideas and opinions during a Listening Forum session will be recorded so they can be
considered during the discussions, in Sydney, on the challenges and opportunities facing the Society.


Listening Forums provide Society members with an opportunity to provide input to Congress 2023+. Your
feedback, thoughts, and ideas can be provided, to help inform and support the conversations that will occur at Congress 2023+. This is a chance for each of us to all listen to others around the country, and to invoke a time of reflection and opportunity for us to journey together, sharing and listening with a Vincentian heart.

Congress 2023+ will bring together Society leaders from across Australia to reflect on the Society’s future
strategic vision on critical matters relating to the Society’s membership, mission and spirituality, and to guide the direction of the Society into the future. But, we know that nothing beats local knowledge, and diverse inputs.

Your participation in the online feedback form, the Workbook reflections, and the online Listening Forums will be captured and shared with delegates to the Congress. Your views will ensure that diversity of thought is expressed early on in the Sydney conversations.


Each Listening Forum session will comprise an opening and closing prayer, short reflection and a discussion led by our chosen external Facilitator. Some participants may want to use the chat function to contribute to the facilitated discussion. Notes will be taken of all contributions made, and these will be summarised and provided to all delegates who attend Congress 2023+.

Dates / Times (all AEST)
Tuesday 29 August at 10am
Saturday 2 September at 3pm
Wednesday 6 September at 12pm
Thursday 7 September at 7pm

Edit - Registration to the Listening forums has now closed. 

If you have any questions, please email: congress2023@svdp.org.au

Mark Gaetani
National President, St Vincent de Paul Society Australia

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Update 1 - 9 August 2023


A total of 185 registrations have been received in response to 217 invitations being issued. 

  • If your jurisdiction has not yet completed its quota of registrations, please prioritise and complete these as soon as possible. 
  • If there are any further questions about any aspect of registration, please contact Donna Scheerlinck via the Congress 2023+ email address: congress2023@svdp.org.au. 
  • The Project Team has booked flights on behalf of SA, WA, NT and arranged transport for Canberra-Goulburn delegates. Other jurisdictions are strongly encouraged to book flights for their delegates as soon as possible to access cheaper fares.  

Where possible, we require all flight details by 18 August 2023. Jurisdictions should send one invoice covering all flight and any related costs, with supporting documentation, to congress2023@svdp.org.au for reimbursement. 

Congress 2023+ workbook

The first Congress 2023+ workbook has been forwarded to each jurisdiction for internal circulation to your members. 

The workbook has been designed to engage our members and to prepare them for the Sydney meeting. The National Council Project team encourage States and Territories to distribute the workbook because it outlines key milestones for members which will require support from State/Territory leaders and employees working in the membership space.  

We highlight the following important communication pieces for distribution:  

Congress 2023+ Prayer - please promote the Congress 2023+ Prayer at the Conference level during the lead up to our Congress. 

Congress 2023+ themes – jurisdictions should be actively promoting opportunities for Society members and Congress 2023+ delegates to explore the themes that will underpin conversations in Sydney. The themes are designed to: 

  1. reflect on core matters to be explored during the Congress, and  
  2. facilitate the expression of new ideas about how the Society can respond to the challenges it faces today and in the future.  

    Congress 2023+ is being designed as an interactive initiative.  Society representative’s ideas and feedback are welcomed and encouraged. We will capture and share these ideas in the second Congress 2023+ workbook which is to be communicated to Congress delegates and to members via the Congress 2023+ website. 

    There are some great pre-Congress workshops and sessions starting to be fed back into the Congress project team. The energy and focus this listening and discernment process is offering members is something we hope that will continue to sew benefits well beyond the Congress weekend.  

    Congress 2023+ Listening forums

    Please continue to promote over the next two weeks the forthcoming Congress 2023+ Listening Forums – refer pages 25 and 27 of the workbook. These listening forums have been designed to ensure all Society members, not just the attending delegates, are given a chance to participate in the pre-Congress journey. 

    The Congress 2023+ listening forums should be regarded as mandatory for all Congress 2023+ attending delegates to ensure when we come together in Sydney, all delegates are ready to engage and make decisions.  

    Sharing ideas and feedback

    These can be shared using three methods:

    Congress 2023+ Program

    The program for Congress 2023+ is nearly finalised.  It will be published on this page: Congress 2023+ Program.  We encourage you to bookmark this site and to check back regularly for more information. 

    Congress resources

    We have added all Congress 2023+ resources to our website to allow all Society members access. 

    Any sensitive documents will be password protected. Members and key stakeholders of the Society will be provided the password via usual State and Territory communication channels.  

    Need more information about Congress 2023+?

    Journeying Together, Revitalising our Mission