By Matthew Lau
Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe has last week used the Pan Australian Catholic Chinese Community Forum to celebrate the feast of Pentecost and to discuss the Plenary Council.
The sixth tri-annual Pan Australian CCC Forum was held in Perth last weekend, concluding with evening Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral on 20 May.
Hosted by the Perth Chinese Catholic Community (PCCC), the theme of this year’s forum was “Christian Life for the New Generation” in response to the Australian Bishops Year of Youth for 2018.
The PCCC was formed in 1991 and currently has some 200 active members.
Archbishop Costelloe was the principal celebrant for the Mass, and was joined by concelebrants Frs Patrick Lim (Perth), Francis Ching (Toronto), Andrew Zhang (Xi’an), Peter Choy (Auckland), and Aloysius Nato (Melbourne).
Fr Lim proclaimed the Gospel reading, which marked the feast of Pentecost.
Archbishop Costelloe made the Plenary Council the main subject of his homily.
The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference recently announced that the first of two historic national gatherings to consider the future of the Catholic Church in our nation will be held in Adelaide in October 2020.
“While this initiative is being officially launched [on 20 May] throughout the nation, here in our archdiocese we will solemnly inaugurate it [on 26 May] during the Vigil Mass for the Feast of the Holy Trinity.
“On the following Sunday, the Feast of the Body and Blood of the Lord, I have asked that each parish begin its own local journey. It is my hope, too, that every one of our other Catholic communities, from our schools to our hospitals, and from our many prayer groups to our social outreach agencies, will also gather to formally recognise their part in this great journey.”
As President of the Plenary Council, Archbishop Costelloe identified the need to provide instant access to information on the Plenary Council website for those who are interested.
“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 God is asking of his Church at this time in our history.
“Of course, for the bishops to do this, we will need to listen to the wisdom of all God’s people, for the Holy Spirit whose coming at Pentecost we celebrate speaks to all the members of the Church when we are open to his presence in our lives,” he explained.
“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. 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.”
The Perth Archbishop said “the love of God which we receive and recognise in and through our life in the Church is a love we are called to share with others”.
“The Plenary Council journey can lead us together to become all that the Lord needs us to be. May the precious gift of the Holy Spirit, whose coming at Pentecost we remember, be poured out on the Church in great abundance.
“May we all be open to receive this gift with gratitude and embrace it with joy and hope.”
The Pan Australian CCC Forum included a three-day conference from 18 to 20 May at St John of God Retreat Centre, Shoalwater.
On the agenda was four topics: senior members reaching retirement age, middle aged groups finding it difficult to participate in church and community life due to various factors, youths in search of their way in faith, and those who require direction and guidance in community service and vocational discernment.
PCCC representative Gregory Lo, who co-ordinates liturgy tasks for group, said the Perth community was honoured to host the Pan Australian CCC Forum.
“We had young members join us for the conference, which is unusual as the topics can be of a mature nature.
“The event ran smoothly, especially because it was Pentecost, it was so meaningful,” Mr Lo said.
“[Our members] are eager to spread the good news of the Lord back in their communities.”
Find out more about the Plenary Council at www.plenarycouncil.catholic.org.au.