The first of two historic national gatherings to consider the future of the Catholic Church in Australia will be held in Adelaide in October 2020, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has announced.
The celebration of the first session of the Plenary Council in 2020 will bring hundreds of Catholic leaders to Adelaide to discuss how the Catholic Church in Australia can continue its mission in a society that is changing and evolving.
Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson, who for more than a decade has been a proponent of such a gathering, said he was delighted the first of two sessions will take place in South Australia.
“This will be a truly historic moment for the Catholic Church in Australia and it is an honour for the people of God in Adelaide to welcome their sisters and brothers from across the country and host such important conversations,” Archbishop Wilson said.
“The inspirational life and spirit of St Mary MacKillop will be a beautiful and powerful presence in the deliberations of the Plenary Council. Her courage and faithfulness are an example for those of us who are being asked to face our future with those same traits.”
Plenary Council facilitator Lana Turvey-Collins said the selection of Adelaide is significant because of its location in Australia’s central corridor.
“We want to be as close to the heart of our country as possible,” she said.
“Adelaide will bring delegates of the Plenary Council together from all corners of our nation to south-central Australia. The Catholic Church has held highly successful events in Adelaide previously and we look forward to doing so again with the first session of the Plenary Council.”
Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB, the president of the Plenary Council, said the countdown to October 2020 and the final session in early 2021 is about to begin in earnest.
“The choice of venue is important because it provides clear dates and focus for the future. It is a part of the preparations,” Archbishop Costelloe said.
“This Sunday, we celebrate the feast of Pentecost in the Catholic Church. As we do so, we begin the process of prayerful listening and dialogue that will help us consider the important question ‘What do you think God is asking of us in Australia at this time?'”
Archbishop Costelloe said Pope Francis has encouraged people “to speak boldly, to speak with passion, but also to listen with an open and humble heart”.
“This is not a process for the ‘inner circle’; this is a bottom-up process that will allow us all to consider how we can draw people closer to the message and teachings of Jesus in contemporary Australian society,” he said.
Find out more at the Plenary Council at www.plenarycouncil.catholic.org.au