Media release issued: Tuesday, June 26, 2007
While new forms of Religious life are stirring, other congregations are facing uncertainty and discouragement.
Yet, regardless of size and circumstance, each Religious leader had a three fold role, Fr Raper said.
"We are spiritual leaders, discerning for our communities; we are CEOs, governing our institutions; we are people of the Church and of society, giving voice to the needs of our time."
Another common factor was that each congregation was facing immense questions of transition.
"How can we be faithful to our mission in the new circumstances of our time?
"How can we transmit that original inspiration of our founders so that it has a vital place in the Church?" he asked in welcoming 120 Leaders of Religious Institutes, international speakers and guests to the 31st national assembly of Catholic Religious Australia (CRA) - formerly the Australian Conference of Leaders of Religious Institutes (ACLRI).
"We know that our vow of poverty is empty if it is not relevant to the poverty in which so many people live today," Fr Raper said.
"We know our chastity gains meaning if it channels our creative imagination and passions and frees our spirit to love others selflessly.
"We know that obedience makes sense if it freely joins us in solidarity with one another in common projects that will make captives free."
Meeting under the theme, Being Neighbours in the Pacific, the conference will hear from speakers from West Papua, Papua New Guinea and Tonga.
"These days enable us to meet in confidence among our peers, trusting one another with our experiences and helping one another to find ways forward," Fr Raper said.
The Catholic Religious Australia Assembly is meeting in Perth for the remainder of the week.