Over the past few weeks, the restrictions on gatherings because of the coronavirus have meant that many events have been postponed. Couples have postponed weddings. Sporting clubs have postponed the start of the season. Even the Olympic Games have been postponed. This week, the President of the Australian Plenary Council, Archbishop Tim Costelloe, announced that the Plenary Council Assembly that was due to be held in Adelaide in October would be postponed to a date to be set.
The national commission for the Plenary Council had been discussing this question for some weeks. They sought the views of people who have been coordinating Plenary Council gatherings in local communities around Australia. The general advice was that it would be best to postpone the October Assembly to a time when we could hope to be clear of the coronavirus and consider alternative dates for the assembly planned for October and the assembly planned for June next year. The Australian bishops accepted this advice and agreed to discuss alternative dates for both assemblies.
Archbishop Costelloe said the Church’s focus at the moment, and for the foreseeable future, was ensuring people continue to be cared for pastorally, spiritually and emotionally during the COVID-19 pandemic. When we come through the pandemic, we will be able to renew the focus on preparing for the Plenary Council.
At that stage there will be further opportunities for gatherings in local communities to reflect on the emerging agenda for the Plenary Council. There will also be more time for the Plenary Council delegates, including the six delegates from our diocese, to prepare for their personal involvement in the Plenary Council Assemblies.
Announcements and up-to-date information will be made available through the Plenary Council website, the PlenaryPost electronic newsletter and social media channels.
Bishop Paul Bird