By Matthew Lau
Parishes of the Archdiocese of Perth have last weekend celebrated the start of the 2020 Plenary Council journey with their local parish community.
Archbishop Timothy Costelloe officially launched the 2020 Plenary Council journey for the Archdiocese of Perth on 26 May at St Mary’s Cathedral. Special Plenary Council candles were blessed and distributed to parish and agency representatives at the end of the Vigil Mass.
Most parishes in the Perth Archdiocese reported to The Record that Masses commenced with the lighting of their Plenary Council candle and a prayer.
Congregations were then invited to turn to the person next to them and briefly share their thoughts to this question: “What do you think God is asking of us in Australia today?”.
A Plenary Council is a formal meeting of the bishops and other representatives of all the dioceses and eparchies of the Catholic Church in Australia.
Cloverdale Parish Priest Fr Michael Quynh Do believes that the Plenary Council has provided a great opportunity for all Catholics, or even those who are not involved in the Church, to raise their voices with what is happening in our dioceses.
“I strongly believe in the working and presence of the Holy Spirit in our country,” he said.
“I think God is asking us to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit – we have to read the Gospel in the way we lead our faith.”
Fr Christian Irdi, Assistant Priest of Willetton Parish, echoed Fr Quynh’s sentiments.
“The greatest challenge facing each one of us today is to return Christ to our lives and return our lives to Christ.
“I think these words sum up perfectly what God’s call is for us in every age, and necessarily therefore, should be a guiding principle in the process of the Plenary Council,” Fr Irdi said.
“In this age of increasing secularism, the challenge is for us to remain faithful to Christ in all we do; that is the call of all of the baptised wherever they may be.
“My hope is that the Plenary Council can help us to listen attentively to the voice of the Good Shepherd, so as to be faithful and courageous witnesses to Him who is ‘the Way, the Truth, and the Life’, in the context of our contemporary Australian society,” he concluded.
Dioceses across Australia have held local events to mark the launch, and dozens of people have already held “Listening and Dialogue” sessions.
Plenary Council facilitator Lana Turvey-Collins said a time of prayer and dialogue will help ensure that we “Listen to what the Spirit is saying” during this important first stage of the three-year Plenary Council process.
She said the reason it is being held in 2020 is in order to give the Catholic community in Australia time to listen, dialogue and discern with one another about the future, the role and relevance of the Catholic Church in Australia.
Archbishop Costelloe, who was appointed as the President of the Plenary Council by Pope Francis, said he holds great hope that the Council will bring about a period of authentic renewal.
“This is a significant moment for the Catholic Church in Australia and I look forward to walking with the people of God as we look towards the future,” he stated.