The voices in the Listening and Dialogue submissions inspired The National Themes for Discernment, which have served as guides as we went through Phrase II: Listening and Discernment. Catholics all over Australia continue to participate in discerning with prayerful hearts and minds. Discernment will go on indefinitely. We invite you to continue getting together with your community for sessions and sending us your responses via the website. With COVID-19 this has it’s challenges, perhaps some form of online meeting can be arranged.
The work towards Assembly 1 of the Plenary Council continues. The THEMATIC PAPERS written by the Writing and Discernment Groups can be read here and are focus point for the journey towards the Council.
In March, more than 250 delegates were announced for the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia, including delegates nominated by dioceses, eparchies, ordinariates and a personal prelature. The delegates will represent those local churches at the celebration of the Council over two assemblies – originally planned for Adelaide in October 2020 and in Sydney in mid-2021.
In April, Assembly 1 was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic preventing the desired process of discernment and formation for the delegates.
As of June 2020, Assembly 1 will be held in Adelaide on October 2-10, 2021 and Assembly 2 will be held in Sydney on July 4-9, 2022.
In July, as part of the ongoing journey for the Plenary Council, work has commenced on the preparation of the instrumentum laboris, or working document, for the Council. Fr Kevin Lenehan is part of the instrumentum laboris writing team.
Bishop Paul comments on discernment papers in preparation for the Plenary Council.
From February to April this year, I worked with a dozen people from around Australia to write a paper about the Church as a prayerful and Eucharistic community. We met twice in person and then, when the COVID-19 restrictions came in, we met by videoconference. Most of the group were lay people. We were from different states. We ranged in age from young adults to senior citizens (such as myself). We brought our different points of view but we shared a common interest in the Church, particularly in the Church as a prayerful and Eucharistic community of people.
Discernment Papers help sharpen focus for Plenary Council
Six Discernment and Writing Groups, one each for the six national themes for discernment that emerged from the Council’s Listening and Dialogue phase, were tasked with writing papers to bring some major themes and issues into focus.
Plenary Council assemblies set for 2021 and 2022
The two assemblies for the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia will now take place in October 2021 and April 2022, following the disruption of the original schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Plenary Council update – May 2020
Bishop Paul shares some points about the Plenary Council which includes the postponement of the first Assembly and introducing the lay delegates from the Ballarat Diocese, Marie Shaddock and Felicity Knobel.
Listening and Discerning
In the Discernment phase of the Plenary Council we continue to seek the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.
People who participated in Listening and Dialogue were invited to reconvene in communal Discernment on the six themes.
How is God calling us to be a Christ-centred Church that is:
Missionary and Evangelising
Inclusive, Participatory and Synodal?
Prayerful and Eucharistic?
Humble, Healing and Merciful?
A Joyful, Hope-Filled and Servant Community?
Open to conversion, Renewal and Reform?
Thinking about Discernment:
What is discernment?
Sr Jacinta Rice has compiled a handout which could be of use to the questions around discernment and feelings.
The discernment process.
See here for the resources to the discernment process for each theme.
More information about the National Themes for Discernment and the plenary council is available at the following website
DIOCESAN PRAYER CARD
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.
RESOURCES FOR PRAYER TOWARDS 2020
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.
Bookmarks have also been printed and copies are available from the Pastoral Ministry Office, email firstname.lastname@example.org or ph. 5337 7159.
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.