28 March 2020

Plenty has happened since the last posting (sorry!). This week the national committee has released the names of all delegates to make up the Australian Plenary Council 2020.  Canon Law specifies delegates who must attend (Bishops and specific clerics) and others who may attend, who must be less that half of those who must attend.

For the Perth local church (archdiocese), there will be seven clerical delegates ‘ex officio’ and four lay delegates. They lay members will be Mr Damian Walsh, director of The Shopfront, Maylands; Dr Angela McCarthy, theologian of Notre Dame University; Dr Marco Cecarelli, director of the Centre for Faith Enrichment, and Miss Emily Hardbottle, diocesan contact for Young Christian Students (YCS). The delegates will be given training and formation prior to the first session of the Plenary Council meeting in Adelaide, 4 – 11 October 2020.

The complete list for Perth is

  • Most Reverend Timothy John Costelloe SDB DD
  • Very Reverend Peter Gerrard Whitely VG
  • Mr Damian Anthony Walsh (director The Shopfront, Maylands)
  • Dr Angela Mary McCarthy (theologian at Notre Dame University
  • Dr Marco Ceccarelli (director of the Centre for Faith Enrichment)
  • Miss Emily Jane Hardbottle (diocesan contact for Young Christian Students YCS)
  • Most Reverend Donald George Sproxton DD
  • Reverend Brian John Mckenna EV
  • Reverend Vincent Glynn EV
  • Reverend Michael Thomas moore SM
  • Reverend Phillip Fleay
  • Professor Francis Campbell (Vice Chancellor, Notre Dame Australia University)

The draft agenda documents will be circulated shortly and further comments on them will be accepted.

2 December 2018

The Second Parish Listening and Dialogue session was held on Wednesday 28 November in the Parish Centre. Ten attendees came together under the Holy Spirit to consider What God is Asking of Us in Australia at this time. The fruit of the reflection and discussion will be assembled and submitted to the on-line website. Thanks to everyone involved, and thanks for the pizza which was well received.

19 November 2018

The collected comments of the first Parish Listening and Dialogue session can be referred to HERE

12 November 2018

Attention was drawn to a reflection by Fr Greg Burke OCD, parish priest of the parish of the Infant Jesus, Morley, in their parish Bulletin.

With the permission of Fr Greg, the reflection is reprinted here below.


During November we will focus our response to the Australian Plenary Council. As Archbishop Costelloe has made clear, “At the heart of the Plenary Council is the call to prayerfully discern what it is that God is asking of us.”. We live not just in an era of change but in a change of era. Strategies and ways of being church that worked well for generations are no longer successful. The percentage of our young people who come to church is very small indeed. As well, we live in a multicultural, secular society where those with no religion are now the largest group. So, our bishops have invited us to discern the signs of the times, to listen anew to the Spirit and to chart our course into the future. This is a call to personal renewal but also ecclesial reform of structures. These are some issues that come to mind:

  • What has been your experience of the Church? N what ways has it been positive? And in what respects has it been negative?
  • Do you have any hopes or dreams of what the church might be?
  • How can we effectively witness to our faith in a secular society? What priority should we give to being missionary disciples making disciples?
  • Can we bring people to an encounter with Christ which is life changing?
  • Can our liturgies help people to grow in faith? Does the new translation of the Mass help or hinder us? Are the prayers, for example, easy to understand?
  • What lessons Have we learned from the Royal Commission on Institutional responses to Child Sexual Abuse? How does the Church have to change?
  • Pope Francis speaks of all the members of the church ‘travelling together’, listening to one another and discerning the way forward. So that what we are called to do for this Plenary Council should be the normal way of our being the Church at every level. If you like theology, then see the recent document on Synodality by the International Theological Commission:
  • What are suitable structures of communion and synodality in every parish and diocese and at the national level for the Church in Australia? Should, for example, bishops be accountable to their people and clergy for their decisions and priorities? Should bishops seek counsel through a Diocesan Pastoral Council (Code of Canon Law: n511)? Should there be a National Catholic Pastoral Council made up of priests, bishops and lay people?
  • Given that the ancient Eastern Churches have always had married clergy and given our present shortage of priests should we be open to the ordination to the priesthood of married men? If so, why? If no, why not?
  • The question of the ordination of women to the diaconate is presently an open question. Would you welcome women deacons?

Blessings, Fr Greg Burke OCD. Infant Jesus Parish. Morley.

Parish Newsletter. 28 October 2018. p2

9 November 2018

Some 20 parishioners participated in the first Parish Listening and Dialogue session. They formed into three tables and commenced with a prayer for God to bless the discussions.

Each person quietly reflected on their response to the signature question: “What do I think that God is asking of us in Australia at this time?” All of their thoughts were tabled and explained, and the table then selected what would be the key issue for further consideration.

Again, everyone had a quiet reflection on the key Issue, looking at it based on their personal experience of their Life, their Faith Life and their Church Life, both positive and negative. These experiences were shared at the tables, and a scribe collected the main aspects of the experiences and the subsequent discussion.

The session concluded with a prayer and the gathering of notes and scribes’ recordings for forming into a Parish submission to the on-line Plenary Council 2020 website.  When completed, this will be posted on this website for any individual supplementary comments.

3 October 2018

An Information Night was attended by 40 on the evening of Friday 13 September.

There were two video presentations shown from Archbishop Mark Coleridge and from Lana Turvey-Collins, the National Facilitator for PC2020. Both stressed that a successful Council requires input from as many as possible, and that all submissions would be carefully read and combined to make up the agenda for the Bishops to address in October 2020.

Highlight of the night was a presentation and discussion with parishioner Maria Harries based on her experience with the Truth, Justice and Healing Council at the Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse, and then with her part of the Rome Synod on the Family in 2015. She thought that some Australian Bishops would find the Plenary Council 2020 very difficult as it would challenge many of their attitudes, and therefore it was so important that lay Catholics spoke up clearly and became part of the Council.

Some Notes taken on the night are available HERE

The night was a special gathering of parishioners, who each brought wonderful food to share. There were extensive and excited conversations everywhere in the room. The Holy Spirit was was us then, and will accompany the parish of St Aloysius in our Listening and Dialogue sessions.

Pope Francis has approved the holding of a Plenary Council as requested by the Catholic Bishops of Australia.  This will gather those from the full spectrum of Catholic activity in Australia, and some from outside the Catholic sphere. Principally, the Plenary Council will consider the current situation of the Catholic Church in Australia, and seek to discern the Holy Spirit’s direction for the Church to take into the future. A Plenary Council has authority, with the Pope’s ratification,  to make binding decisions for all Catholics in Australia.

A program of listening will be launched at Pentecost 2018, and all Catholics invited to submit comments, suggestions and recommendations. These will be considered and formed into an agenda for the Council to address in their first meeting, October 2020. Our parish will hold information and sharing sessions, and these will be announced beforehand.

A website has been created to keep everyone informed, and this is , or link HERE

Some useful items are attached

  1. Three year Timetable
  2. Official Announcement and Links to further support articles
  3. Archbishop Costelloe Launch of Program – Pentecost 2018

UPDATE 1 July 2018.

Preparations are proceeding with the training of Animators in parishes and the drafting of informational resources. Currently it is expected that there will be an introductory session to explain to parishioners the

  • concepts and procedures for a Plenary Council
  • the approaches and support to be provided to those wishing to make submissions and
  • what will happen to those submissions as they feed into the agenda for consideration at the Council

If you have any immediate queries, please approach either Father Manoj or Gerald/Scilla Stack (0410 699 174).