01 Jun 2018
Adelaide to host historic gathering
The Southern Cross newspaper – June 2018
Adelaide has been selected as the venue for the first of two historic national gatherings to consider the future of the Catholic Church in Australia.
The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference announced last month that the celebration of the first session of the Plenary Council would be held in Adelaide in October 2020.
Hundreds of Catholic leaders are expected to discuss how the Catholic Church in Australia can continue its mission in a society that is changing and evolving. The Adelaide event will be followed by a second gathering in Sydney in January 2021.
Pope Francis last month sent his support and blessings to the Catholic Church in Australia as it begins a three year journey to the Plenary Council.
In a special message for the Catholic community in Australia, 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”.
The Holy Father said that process would enable them to be “a leaven of holiness, justice and reconciliation in today’s rapidly changing society”.
Plenary Council facilitator Lana Turvey-Collins said the selection of Adelaide was 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.
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.
The Plenary Council was officially launched around Australia on Pentecost Sunday, including at the Pentecost Vigil at Queen of Angels Church Thebarton and at the Marian Procession in the South Parklands where more than 2000 people gathered to mark the160th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes.