The long awaited Fifth Australian Plenary Council, confirmed by the Catholic Bishops Conference in 2016, commences this Sunday, 3 October with the Opening Mass being held at St Mary’s Cathedral in Perth.
The theme of this Plenary Council is to “Listen to what the Spirit is saying” (Rev 2:7). As Fr Frank O’Loughlin has explained in his recent series, “The preparation (for this Council) has consisted of consultations … all over the country in parishes, religious orders, Catholic agencies, schools and other groups which are part of the life of the Church. These preparations are crucial to the Plenary Council which is not just to be a forum for bishops but for the whole Church.”
The Council will gather for two assemblies, the first of which will be conducted online and in-person from 3-10 October 2021. Gathering together for this Assembly are nearly 300 members from across Australia, drawn from dioceses, eparchies, ordinariates, personal prelature, leaders of religious congregations, and representatives of church ministries. There are also theological experts and together they will discuss six key areas which were drawn from the initial Listening and Dialogue phase of the Plenary Council, and prepared by Discernment and Writing Groups.
Following this First Assembly, there will be a further period of discernment as proposals are prepared for a Second Assembly, planned to take place in the first week of July 2022.
Plenary Council Facilitator, Lana Turvey-Collins “…invites everyone to find ways to pray for and engage with the discernment of the Plenary Council as the members look to develop concrete proposals to create a more missionary, Christ-centred Church.”
Daily live streams, online Masses, and further information about the First Assembly can be found on the Plenary Council website.
By Kirsten Italiano