By Jamie O’Brien
Leaders from across the WA Catholic community have last month gathered to talk about and prepare for the upcoming Plenary Council scheduled for 2020, themed ‘Listen to what the Spirit is saying’.
Leaders from across WA came together on Saturday 7 April with the aim of better understanding what a Plenary Council is, and beginning to plan the co-ordination for the local activity in the Perth Archdiocese.
Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB has also recently announced Manager of Research and Project Development Tony Giglia as the Plenary Council Co-ordinator for the Archdiocese of Perth. He is tasked with engaging leaders from all parts of the local Catholic Church in the preparatory process for the Plenary Council 2020.
Mr Giglia, a former Catholic school principal, will work closely with Archbishop Costelloe and Acting Executive Director of Catholic Education WA, Dr Debra Sayce, who is also part of the Plenary Council Executive Committee which is the advisory body to the Bishops Commission for the Plenary Council.
“With this being the first Plenary Council in more than 80 years, I am looking forward to assisting in bringing the Church in Perth together to engage all people in preparing for this most important occasion,” Mr Giglia said.
“The first stage of preparation is the open Listening and Dialogue Encounters which will commence at Pentecost. It is an opportunity for all people connected with the Catholic Church to have their say and contribute toward preparing the agenda for the Plenary Council. We are all invited to listen to the Spirit, by listening to one another. I believe the open process will be a positive reinforcement that the Church in Australia is keen on listening to the thoughts and ideas of its people moving forward,” he said.
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.
Ms Turvey-Collins provided attendees at the 7 April meeting with an insight into some of ‘nuts and bolts’ of the Plenary Council and encouraged the leaders present from Catholic parishes, Catholic Education, the University of Notre Dame, St John of God Healthcare and Centacare Employment and Training to begin planning how they can work together to enable all people being involved in this significant process of listening and dialogue.
In a special interview with The Catholic Leader journalist Mark Bowling, Ms Turvey-Collins said she is not naïve to the significant changes that many people want, referring to a Church faced with dwindling numbers, shortage of priests, and revelations of the Royal Commission into childhood sexual abuse.
“We invite all people to speak about whatever they want to speak about from their heart and mind,” Ms Turvey-Collins said.
This ‘listening and dialogue’ stage will take a year, and Ms Turvey-Collins expects tens of thousands of responses. The resources will be available on the Plenary Council webpage and the Listening and Dialogue stage is focussed on the question: ‘What do you think God is asking of us in Australia?’
“Any person can answer that, whether you’ve got a theology degree or not, whether you’re a five year old or a seventy-year old, you can engage with that question,” she said.
“It is important that we enable as many people from across the diverse and divergent parts of the Church to share their story of their experience of faith and of the Church. It will help us to develop the program for the Plenary Council session in 2020.”
For more information on the Plenary Council, go to www.plenarycouncil.catholic.org.au