01 Jul 2021
On the road to the Plenary assembly
The Southern Cross | July 2021
Prayer and her belief that the Holy Spirit is guiding the process is helping Kiara Ryan prepare for her participation in October’s Plenary Council assembly – that and everything she will learn while on the road with her family in the coming months.
As the fifth lay delegate named for the Adelaide Archdiocese, Kiara, 35, will be attending one of the assembly’s province hubs, most likely in Queensland, as for the next six months she and her husband Dan and four young sons are heading on the adventure of a lifetime.
“Life has changed since I put in my nomination to be a member…lockdown changed our direction as a family and changed Dan’s work and we have decided to go travelling around Australia for six months in a camper trailer,” she told The Southern Cross.
“When I found out I had been accepted as a Plenary member I wondered how it would work if we were travelling – but the facilitation team said it shouldn’t be a problem and I will just make my way to a hub for the Plenary Council assembly.
“We’re heading to the Northern Territory for the first six weeks and then the rest we will just take as it comes. It’s going to be great to be together as a family and have that quality time, and just slowing down.”
The holiday will also give Kiara plenty of time to build on her faith journey, reading the Plenary’s working document (Instumentum Laboris) and discerning the items that will be discussed at the first assembly from October 3 to 10.
“In one of the papers that has come out it talks about how as Catholics we should create a mindset of being lifelong learners and I think that is great,” she said.
“I think generally speaking we don’t have that, but our Catholic faith is so rich and has so much depth.
“Since becoming a mum I have learnt so much as my children ask many questions and I am challenged to learn the Church’s teachings better in order to properly form my children. I know there is still so much to learn.
“I put my nomination in to be involved in the Plenary because I felt called to do it and I am interested in and excited about the process. I also knew I had the availability to be involved, something that not all young mums might be able to commit to.
“I really believe that the Holy Spirit is guiding the Plenary process, and I am constantly praying for guidance.”
While busy with family commitments, which includes home schooling her two oldest sons, over the years Kiara has found time to be an active member of the Church of Nativity at Aberfoyle Park.
She is involved in a women’s prayer group and children’s ministry, having trained in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, a Christian formation program for 3 to 12 year olds grounded in scriptural and liturgical study based on the Montessori principles of education.
Her Catholic faith has always been an important part of her life. Growing up she attended Stella Maris School, Marymount and Sacred Heart colleges and attended World Youth Days in Sydney and Madrid, being a local organiser for the Australian event.
“I was in my early twenties and that’s where I realised I love to organise things,” she laughed.
“We had to organise a Day in the Diocese and had big groups from Poland come over so it was a bit of a logistical nightmare trying to translate and manage the cultural differences…and then it was great taking a group of about 40 to Sydney.
“The event wasn’t necessarily a huge spiritual moment for me as I had my organiser’s hat on and I had a pretty strong faith by then, so it was more so a time of building my theological understanding of things.”
She met Dan through the Seacombe Gardens parish which she attended with her family and they have been married for 11 years.
After studying psychology Kiara worked as a social worker, however for the past four years she has been a Fertility Care Practitioner working with couples struggling with infertility.
“I find this is such rewarding work…the couples often find the learning very empowering as they gain a much greater understanding of their bodies,” she said.