Pope Francis has sent a special message to the Catholic Church in Australia as it officially starts its three-year Plenary Council.
The Plenary Council 2020, officially launched on Pentecost Sunday, is not to change Church teaching or discipline but to help promote the flourishing of the faith, and propose ways that the Church might do this in response to contemporary opportunities and obstacles.
A listening and dialogue process open to all will inform and culminate in official council sessions in 2020 and 2021.
In his message Pope Francis said that he hoped “through patient dialogue and faith-filled discernment, the conciliar journey will confirm the Catholics in Australia in a spirit of fraternal unity and missionary discipleship, thus enabling them to be a leaven of holiness, justice and reconciliation in today’s rapidly changing society”.
He invoked “the Holy Spirit’s gifts of wisdom, harmony and openness to the Lord’s will for the future of his pilgrim Church in the country”.
Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB, president of the Plenary Council, said it was wonderful that the council had the Pope’s full support.
“We are embarking together on an important initiative that holds great promise for the Catholic Church in Australia,” he said.
Archbishop Costelloe said he hopes the Pope’s message, on top of the strong local interest, “will encourage all Catholics to take part in the council journey with enthusiasm and great hope”.
Pentecost also marked the launch of the Plenary Council website.
Plenary Council facilitator Lana Turvey-Collins said it has material to support conversations with friends and family, large groups and small, to consider the Plenary Council’s central question: “What do you think God is asking of us in Australia at this time?”
She urged people to make use of the opportunity to “allow all Catholics to shape a discussion about the future of our Church”.
Visit the Plenary Council website at: www.plenarycouncil.catholic.org.au