Category Archives: Uncategorized

Plenary Council to contemplate woundedness, seek new peripheries

Day four of the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia will take on a different feel, as members spend extra time offline, praying with and reflecting on questions about seeing through the eyes of those who have been abused and reaching those on the peripheries.

The agenda for the Plenary Council poses 16 questions across six themes, with members called to “develop concrete proposals to create a more missionary, Christ-centred Church in Australia at this time”.

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Members unpack big questions facing the Church

The 278 members of the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia have continued to break open the 16 questions related to how we can create a more missionary, Christ-centred Church in Australia at this time.

After the broad discussions of the first small group sessions on Monday, yesterday’s “spiritual conversations” moved to more specific questions, suggestions and even proposals.

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Archbishop Fisher: ‘Be Powerhouse of Prayer’

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP celebrates Mass for the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia (Photo by Giovanni Portelli: Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney)

As the first general assembly of the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia nears the halfway point, Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP has preached on the power of prayer and trust in the Holy Spirit.

Celebrating Mass for the third full day of the Council, Archbishop Fisher’s homily reflected on Luke’s Gospel of the day, when the disciples ask Jesus how to pray.

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Council members begin work of communal discernment

Plenary Council member Sr Lourds Chitra Justin OSM join the first general assembly with other members based in Perth (Max Hoh photo/Archdiocese of Perth)

The first “spiritual conversations” of the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia covered a broad range of thoughts and topics from Baptism being the place for fundamental conversion to the need for the Church to tend to its past and current failures.

The process for communal discernment by the 278 members during the Plenary Council’s two assemblies follows the centuries-old practice of “spiritual conversations”.

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Pope sends blessings to historic Church event

Pope Francis has sent greetings and blessings from Rome as the program for the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia, the first such event in this country in 84 years, began today.

A message read out during the opening plenary session this morning said the Plenary Council “represents a singular ‘journeying together’ of God’s people in Australia along the paths of history towards a renewed encounter with the Risen Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit”.

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St Francis a model for Australia’s Plenary Council

On the Feast of St Francis of Assisi, Bishop Shane Mackinlay has said the saint that so loved creation and those living in poverty can inspire the work of the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia.

Bishop Mackinlay, the Bishop of Sandhurst and the Plenary Council’s vice-president, celebrated Mass for the first day of the Council’s program, a day after the historic event was opened by Council president Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB.

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Catholics in Australia urged: ‘Become true disciples’

As Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB opened the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia, he said Catholics “must become, even more than we are already, a community of true disciples”.

The Plenary Council, the first such gathering in Australia since 1937, is being celebrated across nine months, bookended by assemblies from October 3-10 and in July 2022.

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Nine-month celebration of Plenary Council set to open

The Mass to officially open the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia this Sunday marks the start of a focused nine-month period of discernment for the Catholic Church in Australia, Bishop Shane Mackinlay has said.

Bishop Mackinlay, who serves as the Council’s vice-president, said the first general assembly will be a critical time in the Plenary Council journey, but it is the first of two assemblies – with a time of “germination” between October and July.

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Catholic community invited to share in Council journey

People across Australia and beyond will be able to follow the progress of the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia through Masses and livestream sessions when the first general assembly opens this weekend.

The Plenary Council, the first such event in Australia since 1937, will open with Mass livestreamed from St Mary’s Cathedral in Perth on Sunday, October 3. Plenary Council president Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB will celebrate that Mass at 2pm AEDT and officially open the nine-month journey of the two Council assemblies.

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‘Spiritual conversations’ will aid Plenary Council discernment

A key component of the Plenary Council’s assemblies will help members to consider the 16 questions that make up the Council agenda.

Each day, some of those questions will be the focus of small group discernment, with about 10 members engaging in what is known as “spiritual conversations”. What are spiritual conversations? And how do they work?

Br Ian Cribb SJ, who led a retreat for the Australian Bishops in 2019, answers some questions about how the spiritual conversations process will benefit the Plenary Council members as they discern the questions before them. Continue reading

Archbishop Costelloe: ‘Pray with us and for us’

Plenary Council president Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB is inviting Catholics across Australia to pray with and pray for Council members during the upcoming first general assembly.

The Fifth Plenary Council of Australia will open on Sunday, October 3, with Archbishop Costelloe celebrating the opening Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral in Perth at 2pm AEDT. The Mass will be livestreamed on the Plenary Council website.

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National committee begins work on Synod of Bishops process

A national committee has been established to support the Church in Australia as it prepares to join an international consultation process in the lead-up to the 2023 Synod of Bishops.

In March 2020, Pope Francis announced that the theme for the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops would be “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission”.

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