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SA plays its part


Adelaide featured prominently at the recent Plenary Council assembly in Sydney and not just through its 10 members and their contributions to the discernment process.

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John Lochowiak, head of the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry in Adelaide, represented the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council, which he chairs. He participated in smoking ceremonies throughout the week and gave the Acknowledgement to Country at the concluding session.

The manager of Aboriginal Services for Centacare Catholic Family Services told the assembly that he was passionate about being Catholic and honoured to be a part of the Plenary Council from the beginning.

Mr Lochowiak took centre stage on the steps of St Mary’s Cathedral as he conducted the smoking ceremony, and local elder Uncle Adam welcomed Plenary Council members to Gadigal land before they processed into the Cathedral for the concluding Mass.

As one of 18 expert advisers, known as periti, at the Plenary Council, Adelaide priest James McEvoy had a significant role to play in the drafting of motions and reviewing amendments put forward during the second assembly.

The Australian Catholic University theologian said it was an “exhausting and exhilarating week”.

“The second assembly of the Plenary Council was an event of a lifetime,” he told The Southern Cross.

“While it involved some particularly difficult moments, it was a major step forward for the Catholic Church in Australia.

“Almost 300 members, including 40 bishops, representing the whole Catholic community, engaged in a process of ‘spiritual conversation’ over a week, discerning where the Spirit is calling the Church.

“This is the type of synodal process that Pope Francis is calling for, one that has its origins in the Church of the first millennium.

“We’ve moved forward, but there’s more to come.”

The Adelaide Archdiocese was also represented at the assembly by Fr Peter Zwaans and Deacon Tim Grauel who were members of the Secretariat. Deacon Tim was also the reader of the Gospel at the opening Mass in St Mary MacKillop Chapel.

Sarah Moffatt, director of Pastoral Life and Mission, was a member of the Coordinating Committee and took on the role of master of ceremonies at various times.

Nichii Mardon

Nichii Mardon, director, Catholic Education South Australia, Diocese of Port Pirie, chaired a number of sessions at the assembly. She was one of four members from the Port Pirie Diocese.


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