By Jamie O’Brien
The entire Perth Catholic community and beyond have the opportunity to have their voices heard as part of the 2020 Plenary Council, following the training of more than 180 local representatives from across the Archdiocese of Perth.
The representatives, who are officially known as Animators – will lead group sessions in parishes and various other communities that work to encourage people to participate in the Listening and Dialogue sessions.
The Listening and Dialogue sessions are the first stage in the preparation of the Plenary Council sessions scheduled to be held in Adelaide, in October 2020 and then again in May 2021 at a location yet to be decided.
The two historic national gatherings will consider the future of the Catholic Church in Australia, bringing hundreds of Catholic leaders together to discuss how the Catholic Church in Australia can continue its mission in a society that is changing and evolving.
The Animators – many of whom have volunteered or were selected by their Parish Priests and local community – came together at Newman Siena College on Friday 27 July and at the Leederville offices of Catholic Education Western Australia on Saturday 28 July, and departed with the knowledge and dedication to help members of their parish community answer, ‘What do you think God is asking of us in Australia at this time?’.
Plenary Council Facilitator Lana Turvey-Collins led the two sessions on 27 and 28 July, with support from Perth Assistant 2020 Plenary Council Co-ordinator, Dr Marco Ceccarelli, Director of the Centre for Faith Enrichment and team leader of Catechist Services at CEWA, Dr Pina Ford.
“The newly trained Perth Animators have shown a tremendous enthusiasm for what the Plenary Council is all about,” Ms Turvey-Collins said.
“Their positive enthusiasm for the Church will enable the entire local community to come together with strength and commitment, to really pray and discern what God is asking of us at this time,” she said.
Dr Ceccarelli went on to say that the Animators who attended the training sessions included a positive cross section of the Perth Catholic community.
“A focused and dedicated group of men, women, young and old, in addition to people from various walks of life, professions and cultures,” Dr Ceccarelli said.
“And this is what we need – people from across the community to help us bring people together so that as many people as possible are able to share their thoughts and insight, as a community,” he said.
Contact your parish for more information about the Listening and Dialogue sessions in your local community.
Agency leaders come together for Plenary information session in show of unity
Directors and senior leaders of agencies and organisations also came together for a Listening and Dialogue session as a group on Tuesday 26 June.
The agency directors and senior leaders were joined by various members from their management committees, with the aim of strengthening networks and relationships during this period of Listening and Dialogue.
Perth 2020 Plenary Council Co-ordinator, Tony Giglia, said he is keen to be part of helping the various communities come together.
“We are being called to something great through this Plenary Council, and the beauty of it all is that everyone is invited,” Mr Giglia said.
“We are all equal in the eyes of God and we pray His plans will be the one we follow,” he said.
Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB, President of the Plenary Council, said the countdown to October 2020 and the final session in early 2021 has begun with much hope.
“The choice of venue is important because it provides clear dates and focus for the future. It is a part of the preparations,” Archbishop Costelloe said.
Archbishop Costelloe continued by saying that Pope Francis has encouraged people “to speak boldly, to speak with passion, but also to listen with an open and humble heart”.
“This is not a process for the ‘inner circle’; this is a bottom-up process that will allow us all to consider how we can draw people closer to the message and teachings of Jesus in contemporary Australian society,” he said.
For more information on the Plenary Council, go to www.plenarycouncil.catholic.org.au.