By Jamie O’Brien
The future of the Church is in God’s hands, who works in and through his people, Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB has said, in launching a Pastoral Letter published today, Friday 18 May.
Writing to the Perth Catholic community and beyond for Pentecost Sunday, in anticipation of the launch of the journey of the Plenary Council for 2020, Archbishop Costelloe said that for us, this means that God works in and through all of us who together make up the Church, the Body of Christ.
The bishops of Australia, says Archbishop Costelloe, know that the whole Church in Australia, in all its diversity, must be a part of this process.
“For that reason, the journey, not towards the Plenary Council, but of the Plenary Council, starts today, Pentecost Sunday,” Archbishop Costelloe says.
A Perth launch of the Plenary journey will then take place at the Vigil Mass at 6pm, Saturday 26 May at St Mary’s Cathedral.
Parishes, agencies and religious congregations have all been invited to send a representative to this Mass to be commissioned on behalf of their community and to receive a special “Plenary Council Candle” and prayer to take back to their community.
“We all need to hear each other’s voices as we try to discern what God is asking of us,” Archbishop Costelloe says.
“No one voice or group of voices is more important than any other for, as Saint Paul reminds us, in the Church ‘there are no more distinctions between Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female, but all of you are one in Christ Jesus’ (Gal 3:28).”
Earlier this year, it was announced that Pope Francis has given his approval for the Church in Australia to hold the first Plenary Council – the most significant national gathering that can be held – in Australia in more than 80 years.
In approving the Plenary Council, Pope Francis also endorsed the bishops’ nomination of Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB as the President of the Plenary Council.
“Please make this journey of the Plenary Council a focus of your prayers,” Archbishop Costelloe says, in his Pastoral Letter.
“Please share your own experience of the Church in your lives, and your hopes and dreams for the Church, with all of us through the opportunities provided in the dialogue and listening process.
“Let us all open ourselves to the power of the Holy Spirit who alone can renew the face of the Church and who seeks to do so through us. Let us “listen to what the Spirit is saying”.
Archbishop Costelloe also explained in his Pastoral Letter that there will be two formal sittings of the Plenary Council: one in October of 2020 and one in May of 2021.
For more information, visit the Plenary Council website at plenarycouncil.catholic.org.au
Click Here to read the Pastoral Letter.