By Jamie O’Brien
Archbishop Timothy Costelloe has now launched the 2020 Plenary Council journey for the Archdiocese of Perth.
The launch of the 2020 Plenary Council journey – which took place at the Vigil Mass for the Feast of the Trinity, Saturday 26 May at St Mary’s Cathedral – was a unique opportunity for Archbishop Costelloe to invite those present to ask a fundamental question; Who is this God, whom Jesus makes known, and what is this God calling us to do and to be?
Archbishop Costelloe explained that, in simple terms a Plenary Council is a solemn gathering of all the Catholic bishops of a region – in our case of the whole of Australia – to prayerfully discern what we believe God is asking of us all.
“Over the next 12 months there will be opportunities for all of us who care about the Church to share our hopes and dreams together,” Archbishop Costelloe explained.
“It is this sharing of hopes and dreams, based on our prayerful listening to the voice of God’s Spirit speaking in our lives and in our hearts, which will guide the bishops as they seek to be the humble servants and shepherds of God’s Church,” he said.
The celebration of the Holy Trinity, said Archbishop Costelloe, is an especially appropriate time to launch this major event here in our Archdiocese because it is in this feast that we discover the very heart of our faith.
“Believing what we do about Jesus as the Son of God, we know that Jesus in his humanity unveils the hidden mystery of God to us in a way that we can at least to some extent understand,” Archbishop Costelloe said.
“In doing so, Jesus also reveals the nature of our human and Christian vocation, for we are all called to be together the signs and bearers of God’s love for others, just as he was,” he said.
More than 500 representatives from parishes, agencies, groups and lay faithful gathered for the Mass, which was con-celebrated by Vicar General Fr Peter Whitely, Acting Cathedral Dean Fr Don Kettle, Assistant Parish Priests Fr Stephen Gorddard, Fr Jeffey Casbuena and Fr Conor Steadman as MC, along with Redemptoris Mater Seminary Rector Fr Michael Moore SM. Several other priests from across the Archdiocese were also present for the occasion.
At the commencement of the Mass, Archbishop Costelloe blessed and lit the Plenary Council candle, recognising the call to the urgent, challenging but Spirit-led task of trying to discern exactly what God, at this moment in our history, is asking of us.
“In a very real sense today’s feast already provides us with the answer,” Archbishop Costelloe explained.
“God is asking us, as His Church, to become in practice what we are in our deepest and truest identity: a living, powerful, unmistakable and convincing sign and bearer of God’s love made known to us in Jesus,” he said.
Smaller versions of the candle were also blessed by Archbishop Costelloe and received by the representatives, with the encouragement to conduct their own Plenary Council launch with their local parish community.
WA LEADERS COME TOGETHER
Leaders from across the WA Catholic community have come together on 7 April to talk about and prepare for the upcoming Plenary Council scheduled for 2020.
Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB has also announced Tony Giglia, Manager Research and Project Development as the Archdiocese of Perth Plenary Co-ordinator.
Mr Giglia, a former Catholic school principal, will work closely with Archbishop Costelloe, Acting Executive Director of Catholic Education WA, Dr Debra Sayce (who is also part of the Bishops Commission for the Plenary Council) and various parish and agency representatives in ‘keeping the ball rolling’.
Presenting to attendees at the WA Leaders meeting on 7 April was Lana Turvey-Collins, who has been appointed by the Australian Bishops as the facilitator of the historic event and is leading a three-year transformative journey with the cultural reform of the Church on the table.
Mrs Turvey-Collins provided attendees at the 7 April meeting with an insight into some of ‘nuts and bolts’ of the Plenary Council, while also having the opportunity to provide feedback and establish how the Archdiocese will be involved.
“We invite all people to speak about whatever they want to speak about from their heart and mind,” Mrs Turvey-Collins said.
As the first Plenary Council since 1937, the starting point for the 2020 Plenary was the official national launch on 20 May, with an invitation to Catholics and organisations alike to provide their views, through a range of meetings and online kits – downloadable from the Plenary website (www.plenarycouncil.catholic.org.au).
This ‘listening and dialogue’ stage will take a year, and Mrs Turvey-Collins expects tens of thousands of responses, but if there is to be one overarching question for the Church, she believes it is ‘What do you think God is asking of us in Australia?’.
From pages 8 and 9 of Issue 13: ‘God, Science, Church’ of The Record Magazine