From Australian Catholic Bishops Conference
The Christmas season was targeted as an opportune time to increase participation in Plenary Council 2020 in parishes nationwide.
Within the first six months of the Council’s Listening and Dialogue phase, more than 30,000 people have made individual submissions or were part of a Plenary Council gathering.
It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of people attended a Christmas service last month.
Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB, president of the Plenary Council, said Christmas revolves around a remarkable story that changed the course of human history.
“Christmas is also a time when we share our own stories with family and friends, some of whom we only see once or twice a year,” Archbishop Costelloe said.
“We want to hear people’s stories of faith, their experience of the Church, and their hopes for how we can better reflect the face of Christ in Australia.
“It’s important to hear about the lived experience of the many people who attend Mass just at Christmas and consider how the encouragement and nourishment of a faith community can be more a part of everyone’s lives.”
Lana Turvey-Collins, the Plenary Council facilitator, said she was excited about the potential that the Christmas season entailed.
“It [was] an opportunity to connect with those who maintain a spiritual and cultural connection with the Church and attend Christmas Mass. Their story matters and they have a lot to contribute to the Plenary Council,” she expressed.
Ms Turvey-Collins said the national network of Plenary Council Coordinators is helping to ensure those people are reached.
“Across the country, tens of thousands of special Christmas cards have been printed and will be given out at Christmas Masses, inviting people to reflect on their lives and faith,” she added.
“There will be several ways in which people can engage with the Plenary Council process, including via the QR code on the card or on the Council website. They can also simply write on the card and post it back or give it to their local parish.”
The cards capture a special message, Ms Turvey-Collins said, encouraging people to “Share the story” and “Shape the future”.
“Our churches will be more full than at almost any time of the year, and so will our homes. It’s a great opportunity to share the story of Christmas, but also the story of people’s faith and the story of the Plenary Council,” she concluded.
Visit the Plenary Council website at: www.plenarycouncil.catholic.org.au