The Plenary Council Steering Committee, chaired by Lana Turvey-Collins, met in Adelaide last month for two intensive days of planning.
More than 350 participants, including delegates, advisers and observers, are expected to attend the Plenary Council which will be the first of its kind to be held since the second Vatican Council. The last Plenary Council held in Australia was in 1937.
More than 222,000 people have participated in listening and dialogue encounters and contributed 17,457 submissions during the first stage of preparation for the Council.
Six themes have emerged from this process and are being explored by discernment and writing groups with input from local listening and discernment sessions. The groups’ papers, to be published after Easter, will help shape the Plenary Council agenda.
Each diocese has been seeking expressions of interest from lay delegates and nominations are expected to be finalised this month.
The first assembly will open with a public outdoor Mass at Sacred Heart College on Sunday October 4 and will be followed by a multicultural celebration.
The Mass will be open to all, and people will be invited to register later in the year.
The assembly participants will join with the Cathedral parish community for the closing Mass to be held on Sunday October 11 at St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral.
The second Assembly will be held in Sydney from June 28 to July 3 2021, with the same delegates in attendance.
Ms Turvey-Collins said it was exciting to think the first assembly of the Plenary Council was only seven months away.
“The build-up to the fifth Plenary Council of Australia has, in many ways, been a long process,” she said.
“The origins of the Council go back almost 20 years, as the Australian bishops considered St John Paul II’s call in his apostolic letter Novo Millennio Ineunte for the Church to consider its place in contemporary society.
“It was eventually decided that a Plenary Council was the best way to do that, and the groundwork was prepared in 2016 and 2017.
“The Council has seemed to be out there – in the future – for three or four years. Now, with calendars showing 2020, the future has arrived for the Church in Australia.”
The Archdiocese is seeking volunteers to undertake a variety of roles throughout the Plenary Council and will hold an information evening on March 18 at the Cathedral Hall, Wakefield St from 7pm-8.30pm.
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