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Plenary moves to next stage

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While Ash Wednesday on March 6 will mark the end of the Plenary Council’s Listening and Dialogue phase, preparations are already underway for the next stage in the journey towards 2020.

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During Lent, the Plenary will join the Catholic community in prayerful preparation for Easter and at Pentecost (June 9) will launch the Listening and Discernment stage, at the same time announcing the national themes for discernment which have emerged from the Listening and Dialogue responses.

More than 70,000 people have engaged with the Plenary Council during the Listening and Dialogue stage, with a good response from members of the Adelaide Archdiocese.

Figures from the National Centre for Pastoral Research (NCPR) show that from May until the end of December last year, the Plenary Council received 155 submissions from the Adelaide Archdiocese. This represented submissions from 92 individuals and 63 made by groups, covering a total of 763 respondents from the diocese.

Of the submissions received, 109 were as a direct result of participation in a Listening and Dialogue encounter.

Council president Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB has been heartened by the number of submissions received over the past 10 months.

“Given it’s more than 80 years since the last Plenary Council in Australia and given, too, the changes in the Church and society since then, it was impossible to know how many people would take part in this historic process,” Archbishop Costelloe said.

“It is both exciting and humbling to have heard from such large numbers of people and for them to have shared their stories of faith and hope, but also their stories of despair and heartbreak.

“Each of those stories is valuable and meaningful.”

Plenary Council facilitator Lana Turvey-Collins said the NCPR, using best-practice analysis methods, would be responsible for identifying key themes and topic areas that have emerged during the Listening and Dialogue period. These would be the focal points for the next step in the process.

“After Easter, when we will receive the objective analysis of the tens of thousands of voices that have contributed to this process, we will move into the next stage of the preparation phase: ‘Listening and Discernment’,” Ms Turvey-Collins said.

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