Plenary Council 2020

Plenary Council 2020 logo

The Listening and Dialogue phase is over. What happens now? 

With the Listening and Dialogue phase now complete, the National Centre for Pastoral Research will continue the deep listening process, conducting a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the submissions received and, using best-practice research methods, will identify key themes that have emerged.  Then, in May, the Bishops Commission for the Plenary Council, the Plenary Council Executive Committee and the Facilitation Team will work together with the National Centre for Pastoral Research to finalise the National Themes for Discernment.  Those themes will become the focus for the Listening and Discernment phase, which will begin from June 9, and will be the foundations for the Plenary Council agenda.  More information about the Listening and Discernment phase will be available shortly.  One of the key aspects of the Plenary Council 2020 is prayer.  We ask you to continue to pray the Plenary Council Prayer at Masses, at meetings and at home (prayer below).  


Hearing your voices – please respond by 6th March 2019

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We encourage you to consider the questions the Plenary Council has put to all people in Australia.  See below for details.

You are encouraged to develop your responses by talking with others using the Listening and Dialogue process.  This creates opportunities for interesting and useful ideas to emerge, as you listen to the Holy Spirit. 

Responses can be submitted to the Plenary Council either as individuals or as a group.

Responses can be submitted to any of the following:

What is Plenary Council 2020

Pope Francis has given his approval for the Catholic Church to hold the first Plenary Council – the most significant national gathering that can be held – in Australia in more than 80 years, the last one held was in 1937.

A Plenary Council provides an occasion for the whole Church to discern what the Holy Spirit is saying to our Church at this time. For this to happen, wide consultation of the entire Australian Church will be necessary so that all voices have an opportunity to be heard.  Processes that enable all to genuinely listen to each other will also be required. A new relationship of trust and confidence has to be created within the Church in Australia and the wider community.

What is Listening and Dialogue?

The Plenary Council 2020 is asking us to Listen and Dialogue. This Listening and Dialogue part of the preparations for the Plenary Council also offers an opportunity for individuals and groups to have your voices directly heard by the Plenary Council prior to the Council’s agenda being developed. The Listening and Dialogue phase of preparation is open until Ash Wednesday 2019.  These are the questions you are asked to consider and respond to:

1. What do you think God is asking of us in Australia at this time?

2. What questions do you have about the future of the Church for the Plenary Council to consider in 2020?

3. Do you have a story of your experience of faith, or the Church you would like to share?

Parishes and other groups in the diocese, large or small, are encouraged to gather to listen, talk and respond.  A group does not need to develop a single response.  All responses can be submitted, all voices are welcome.

Below is a new leaflet from the Ballarat Diocese about the current Listening and Dialogue phase of the Plenary Council.

Listening and Dialogue - Ballarat Diocese leaflet

Other Plenary Council resources including prayers, reflections and a helpful FAQ (under ‘About’) and Listening and Dialogue children’s version, are available at https://plenarycouncil.catholic.org.au/



Bishop Paul has also provided "A Prayer for the Plenary Council".  These prayer cards have been distributed to parishes, school and agencies of the diocese.  Futher copies are available from the Pastoral Ministry Office.  Click here to download a copy of the prayer.


In the Diocese of Ballarat, we will have opportunities to gather in our local communities for prayer and dialogue, so that we might make our contribution to the plenary council.  Gatherings to open the dialogue were held in local communities during the 2018 Easter season and Bishop Paul prepared a text for Evening Prayer and a text for a Penance Service as resources for these gatherings. This can still be useful and adapted by the community for use in their preparations. 

Click here for a copy of the Evening Prayer. 

Click here for a copy of the Penance Service.  

Click here for a copy of the flyer that was included with ODC November 2018.

Bookmarks have also been printed and copies are available from the Pastoral Ministry Office, email pastoralministry@ballarat.catholic.org.au or ph. 5337 7159.

Plenary Council Bookmark

In preparation for Plenary Council 2020, and suitable for Easter Season, Ascension, Pentecost and Confirmation the Diocese of Wollongong have shared a song, The Power of the Spirit. Lyrics, powerpoints and sheet music available.  See here.

01.Power of the Spirit Plenary Council Wollongong





We are the Catholic Church in the Ballarat Diocese
we gather in the name of Jesus from the Murray to the sea
in interwoven faith communities. Spirit filled
we celebrate and share our journey
reaching out to nurture all God's people.

Diocesan Vision Statement 2005

All Enquiries

PO Box 576
Ballarat, Victoria 3353

Phone +61 3 5337 7111

Where to find us

Catholic Diocese of Ballarat
5 Lyons Street South
Ballarat, Victoria 3353